Year 10 is a difficult level to teach. Until students reach VCE they will often dis-engage from learning. Learning profiles will often show a ‘backwards’ trend. So in class last week I resorted to bribery!
What are the chances of rolling a 5 on a standard six-sided die, followed by a spade drawn from a standard 52 card deck?
Well my students didn’t exactly jump out of their seats with enthusiasm!
So I said: “OK, here is a deck of cards and a die. If you are the first to get a five and a spade, then you will get a 10% bonus on your test.”
The few students who were paying attention nearly did jump out of their seats and wanted to go first. So I went round the class of 18 students and guess what, no winner! “Bad luck”, I said. But I really had their attention now, and they implored me to go another round.
I reluctantly agreed, but said they had to listen carefully to how we work out these type of probability questions. We eventually got to:
So then I went round the class again. Full attention. Groans when a 5 wasn’t rolled, or a spade didn’t turn up. Guess what, no winners again. It wasn’t until the fourth round that eventually student K won. We then had a useful discussion about experimental v. theoretical probability.
So bribery worked this time. Perhaps, I’ll use it again soon?