Literature Connections:

"A Closet Full of Shoes" and "Picture Puzzle Piece" by Shel Silverstein.

Mathematical Strand:



Students will understand the concept of simple probability

Grade level:


Lesson Created by:

Marilyn Kilgore, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS

Lesson Description:


  • Poem "A Closet Full of Shoes" and poem "PicturePuzzle Piece by Shel Silverstein, large bag of shoes (flip flops), 100-piece puzzle in box, Curriculum and Evaluation Standards Grade 5-8.

1. Launching the lesson (engage)

  1. Read the poem- Picture Puzzle Piece
  2. Ask students what does probability mean to them. Ask if anyone can give an example of probability in real life. (Ex. Weather, sports, medicine and games)

1. Developing the lesson

  1. Show class the puzzle box with 100 pieces. Show them the one piece marked with an X. Ask what is the probability of someone drawing out the one piece with the X. Ask what the probability of drawing out an outside puzzle piece would be.
  2. Explain that probability is the chance that something will happen.
  3. Read the poem "Closet Full of Shoes
  4. Show students the bag full of shoes. Return one orange shoe and one green shoe to the bag.
  5. Ask, what is the probability of someone drawing an orange flip-flop out of the bag. Green?
  6. Put two orange flip-flops and 2 green in the bag. Ask some probability questions again. Do I have a better probability of picking orange now?
  7. Add 3 blue, 2 black and 1 yellow flip flop to the bag. Ask how many black flip flops would need to be added to the bag so that the probability of drawing a black flip flop is ½
  8. Once students are feeling comfortable with the concept of probability then explain that we are going to play a game called Montana Red Dog. (This is in the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics p. 41)

1. Closure

a. I plan to extend the concept of probability for 3 additional days.

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