The gym was crowded with happy carnival-goers at Prairie Creek Community School this morning. The fourth and fifth grade classes had been studying probability, and as a way to celebrate their learning, they put on a carnival for the school community. Each student created a game of chance using dice, spinners, cards, or some combination. They came up with a catchy theme, calculated the odds of winning their game, and estimated how many prizes they would need. They created a sign to announce their game, and they created prizes of many types, including clay animals, bookmarks, stickers, origami cranes, and coloring sheets.
Students from the K/1 and 2/3 classes attended. One kindergartner remarked, "There are so many fun choices, I just can't decide what to play first!" Children were given 20 tickets with which to play 20 games. Parents and younger siblings were also invited, and there were many enthusiastic parents moving from game to game. One of them commented, "This is a quintessential Prairie Creek math event!"
In the afternoon, the fourth and fifth graders reflected on their experience of designing and running their games. They counted tickets to see how many children played their games, and they reflected on how well the mathematical probability that they had calculated matched with the experimental probability of the carnival itself. They agreed that this was a fun way to bring the concept of probability to life.