What are probability / chance / likelihood?
What is probability?
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.