5th Grade Math Help: Probability and Statistics

Probability and statistics are some of the most math useful concepts for everyday life. In fact, you probably already use these concepts in one way or another when you play games or plan out your weekend activities. Here are some tips to make learning probability and statistics easier and more fun.

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Learning Probability and Statistics

What Is It?

Probability and statistics provide ways to mathematically calculate the likelihood that certain events will happen. For instance, if you have a die and you roll it, you have a one in six chance of landing on any number between one and six.

Real-Life Examples

Here is an example of probability in action: when you apply to college, you must take into consideration the likelihood of getting accepted at each school. Many people choose to apply to a few 'safety' schools as well as a few 'reaches.' Reaches are schools you have little chance of getting into, but that you strive for. Safety schools are places that will almost certainly accept you based on your grades, test scores and application.

When two friends meet for a coffee somewhere in a city, they most both determine the mode of transportation (bus, train, walking, driving or taking a taxi) that will get them there on time. Probability is how they figure out which mode to take. How likely is it that a bus will be stopping by soon? How likely is it that a taxi will be outside? How likely is it that there will be traffic?

Practice With Props

From around your house, collect a few groups of like items (for example, three hairbrushes, five books and six oranges). Now, count how many items are in each group and make a label for the amount. Be sure to keep the groups close together on a table or the floor. You are now ready to test your probability skills. What is the likelihood that if you closed your eyes and chose something from one of the piles, you would end up with a book? What about a hairbrush? These are questions of probability.

To find the answer, add up the numbers on each label. If you used the numbers given above, you would have 14 items. Next, take a piece of paper and draw a large pizza with 14 slices. Mark three slices 'hairbrush,' five slices 'book,' and six 'orange.' This picture illustrates the probability of choosing a hairbrush, a book or an orange. You have three in 14 chances of choosing a hairbrush and six in 14 chances of selecting an orange.

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