# What are probability / chance / likelihood?

### What is probability?

**Probability tells us how likely something is to happen.**

Probability can be described in words, or more accurately in terms of fractions and percentages.

Probability can also be shown on a **probability line**:

### Learning about probability

Children may learn about probability as part of their learning about data handling. They may be given a question similar to the following:

*Mary has these shapes in a box:If she puts her hand in the box and takes a shape without looking, what is the probability that she will take out a triangular shape?*

Children are expected to answer a question such as this with a fraction. In this case, the answer would be: 3/12 (because three of the 12 shapes she might pick are triangles). They may be asked to give this fraction in its simplest form, in which case, the answer would be 1/4.

Probability questions will often involve mention of **spinners**:

*Katy has this spinner.The chance of the spinner landing on an even number when she spins it is 3/6, which can be simplified to 1/2.*

a) What is the chance of her getting a square number?

b) What is the chance of her getting an odd number?

Simplify your answers.

*Answer: 1 and 4 are square numbers, so the chance of her getting a square number is 2/6, which can be simplified to 1/3. 1, 3 and 5 are odd numbers, so the chance of her getting these numbers is 3/6, which can be simplified to 1/2.*