Unmuddling Maths – Viking Rune Stones and Probability Part Two

The next day I gave them a bag of runes and asked them to follow the instructions I had typed out on the sheet (click on picture below to enlarge it).  This lesson was about applying everything from the day before and making some predictions based on this knowledge.  They were required to test their predictions and finally to come up with a simple formula that expressed what they had learnt.  It was fascinating to watch.  L9, who struggles so much to understand mathematical concepts, really grasped this lesson and I encouraged her to come up with the equation without the other’s help.  She managed it completely on her own!  I can’t believe the difference seeing maths is making to her.  T10 and C10 are getting a lot out of it but L10 is just developing in leaps and bounds.  It is SO worth the extra work (which by the way is quite considerable!).

Part One – click to enlarge
The children testing their theory

The equation L10 came up with, and the others agreed with was:

The probability of an S Rune being picked was equal to the number of S runes divided by the total number of runes

I taught them to put it into vaguely (!) mathematical terms:

  P(S Runes)= No. of S Runes/ Total no. of Runes

In the next lesson I gave them 25 runes.  I had chosen 5 different letters and there were different amounts of each letter.  I had them do the following activities (click to enlarge):

Part Two
Applying what they had learnt

They found the sheet very easy, which was heartening but the last question really stumped L10.  Why did I teach her maths? She understands the need to know about money and stuff but struggled to come up with any feasible reason why anyone would need to go through the pain of being taught maths.  Oh dear, I really have failed her!  In the end she conceded that using the equation was quicker than working it out manually and therefore there might be some point to it all!  I’m hoping that the more we do this type of maths and the less we do worksheet type maths, the more she’ll embrace and enjoy her maths and see the purpose to it.


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