Literature Connection:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Mathematical Strand:



Students will predict results, design a model, and carry out trials to determine probability based on their experimentation

Grade level:


Lesson Created by:

Kathy Buyle, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS

Lesson Description:

Materials: The book The Giver, game cubes (dice), coins, checkers, paper, pencils, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School*

1.Launching the lesson (engage):

  1. The students will read the story over a long period of time in which discussion of many elements will take place. One day of discussion can involve the math/literature connection.
  2. The following question can be posed to the students: " In the Community of the Giver each family unit can have only two children, one boy and one girl. Likewise, in each class in school there are 50 students - 25 boys and 25 girls. Assuming that the probability of a woman giving birth to a boy or a girl is the same, how often do you think exactly 25 out of 50 babies will be girls?"
  3. The students will be asked to make a model of their problem. They will also carry out 50 trials and record their results.

2. Developing the lesson

  1. The students will have access to coins, die, and checkers. These items will be used to solve the probability problem in an experimental way.
  2. The students will be asked to make predictions regarding the probability of 25 out of 50 children being boys and 25 being girls.
  3. Students will work alone to come up with their solution.
  4. Data from each can be combined to represent a greater number of years.

3. Closure/Discussion/Elaboration

  1. The students will have fun comparing their results
  2. The students can be shown the theoretical probability formula for solving the problem *
  3. Other mathematical questions can be posed regarding the Community in the Giver: Will order make a difference in how you will show your solution (boy first? Girl first?)
  4. Students can be assigned a writing assignment in which they write up their results in a paragraph.

* I used an article for this lesson plan idea from Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School (Vol. 4, No. 8, May 1999 pp.504-509) written by Ann Lawrence. She has developed a very thorough explanation of math concepts regarding probability.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University