The Giver by Lois Lowry
Students will predict results, design a model, and carry out trials to determine probability based on their experimentation
Lesson Created by:
Kathy Buyle, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS
Materials: The book The Giver, game cubes (dice), coins, checkers, paper, pencils, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School*
1.Launching the lesson (engage):
- 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.
- 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?"
- 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
- The students will have access to coins, die, and checkers. These items will be used to solve the probability problem in an experimental way.
- The students will be asked to make predictions regarding the probability of 25 out of 50 children being boys and 25 being girls.
- Students will work alone to come up with their solution.
- Data from each can be combined to represent a greater number of years.
- The students will have fun comparing their results
- The students can be shown the theoretical probability formula for solving the problem *
- 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?)
- 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.