Friday, April 8, 2011

Tube Tunnel and Chocolate Bunny Ears Probabilities
Nothing like probability to jump right into the Easter Candy festivities! I've said before, it's always a triumph when our children "work" for their candy.

This was a super fun activity to do with my girls. The 2 1/2 year old LOVED rolling her gumball down the tubes over, and over, and over... She would hear the "plink" of the gumball into the plastic bowl and run over to see which bowl it landed in.

At times one side was favored, but after some adjusting it was hard to say just what side the gumball would shoot out.
So, first you need to build your tube tunnel. Hopefully you've been saving up those paper towel and toilet paper rolls! Use masking or duct tape to secure the first tube to the back of a chair, the counter, or somewhere elevated.

Tape tubes together until you have formed a tunnel. For a little fun and variation, you can even make a tunnel with several entrances and exits for more variation. When you feed two routes together, cut a hole in one tube and snip off the end of the other tube at an angle. Insert the angled tube into the hole. This allows for a pretty clear tube route (so the inserted tube doesn't block the route). Be sure to secure the tube tunnel onto an object for stability in a few places along the tunnel route. Place a bowl under each exit.
Now let your child roll a small rubber ball, gumball, holiday candy or other small round object through the tube. Keep track of how many times the ball falls into the right/green bowl or into the left/red bowl during 10 runs. What number of times did the ball roll into the green bowl? ...and into the red bowl? Multiply that number by 10 and this is the percentage of times that outcome was realized.  So, the ball rolled and landed in the right/green bowl 4 times out of 10...that's a 40% outcome! 
Probability is the measurement of how likely an event (one or more outcomes of an experiment) is. (
Probability of an Event Equation:
The probability of event A is the number of ways event A can occur, divided by the total number of possible outcomes.
P(A)= The Number of Ways an event can occur
...........The Total Number of Possible Outcomes

P(red bowl) = 1 (#ways ball can fall into red bowl) =1/2
......................2 (Total number of bowls)
This is a bit over a young child's head, but it's helpful to understand a bit of the concept so you can teach PROBABILITY.
Now, this Chocolate Easter Bunny activity will help illustrate the principle of Probability again.

Cut off the tips of the ears on a hollow chocolate Easter bunny.  Have you child drop a jelly bean into one of  the bunny's ears.  Ask your child to predict which ear the jelly bean will drop out of.  Will it be the ear that is closest to the face or to the tail (on a sideways looking bunny-If you have a forward facing bunny, you need to mark one ear to differentiate between the two...maybe an extra notch or bite from the top).

Flip the bunny upside down, taking care to not tilt one way or the other.  Notice which ear the jelly bean drops from and record your observations during 10 different attempts/trials.  Your child can keep track on a piece of paper.

Now help your child label a piece of large square grid graph paper ( at the bottom with the two possible outcomes..."Nose-side Ear"/or "Shorter Ear" or "Tail-side Ear"/ or "Longer Ear".  Let your child glue a jelly bean onto each square that this outcome occurred.  Now you'll have a very yummy graph.

Keep in mind, these activities are for learning purposes and obviously, the flip of your hand on the chocolate bunny or the sleek exact glide of the ball/Easter candy in the paper towel tunnel are not going to offer the perfectly exact and equal settings....but eating the candy after these activities sure will be fun!


Jedda said...

we'll have to try that-I've been saving those tubes ;)

KS said...

Way fun! Thank you for the fun ideas.

Errolyn said...

Found your site from Costco Connection. Can't wait to try some of these activities! The tube tunnel looks especially fun. I have a 2.5-year-old as well :) And some older kids who can do the probability. Thanks for the great ideas.


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