You might be wondering how much of probability do they actually learn and how much do they just follow the prompts? We don’t know. But even if they don’t really get it, the next time they hear “probability,” it will not be an entirely new concept.
And I believe that just being exposed to the new information increases learning capacity. My kids love this game so much that when we don’t have ice cream, they still want to play it with pretend ice cream.
When we play this game with pretend ice-cream, we go wild with the flavors. Cherry Poop Chocolate Doodle is always a huge success. Gooseberry Hot Nuts brings on some giggles. And Donkey Kick Caramel Bananas starts an impromptu dance.
What you need
tasting spoons for tasting ice cream (I buy a pack of 500 and we use them in a variety of projects)
one piece of paper and pen for EACH player
6 tubs of ice cream of 6 different flavors (we had chocolate, lemon, vanilla, cappuccino, caramel, raspberry)
Write numbers 1 through 6 on post-it notes or pieces of paper. Assign a number to each flavor.
For example, 1 – Caramel, 2 – Vanilla, 3 – Lemon, etc.
Children should not be able to see what those numbers are. That’s what they will be trying to figure out!
The objective of the game
The objective of the game is to calculate the probability of ice cream being a certain flavor. But what is probability?
Probability means how likely something to happen. When we toss a coin, there are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. We say the probability of the coin landing one way or the other is 1/2. “1” is the number of ways it can happen, and “2” the total number of possible outcomes.
When a dice is thrown, there are six possible outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The probability of any one of them is 1/6.
In this game of six flavors, the probability of you getting a caramel ice-cream is 1/6. “1” is the number of times caramel can happen (we only have one tub of caramel), “6” the total number of possible outcomes.
If we had two tubs of caramel ice-cream, we would increase the probability of getting it. The probability would be 2/6 or 1/3).
How to play
Player #1 rolls the die.
Say, number “4” comes out.
All players write down number 4 on their pieces of paper.
Player #1 picks a flavor. Say, “chocolate.”
What is the probability of the container of ice-cream #4 being chocolate? It’s 1/6.
Time to check. Scoop a bit of ice-cream that corresponds to #4 on a spoon and let the player #1 taste it with eyes closed. (A bit of sensory fun!). The player guesses the flavor by taste.
It’s a lemon ice cream! All players make a note that #4 is Lemon.
Five more flavors to guess.
Player #2 rolls the die. Say, #1 comes out. The player makes a guess that this is going to be caramel ice cream. Parent reminds kids that there are five flavors left. What is the probability of this ice-cream being Caramel? It’s 1/5. Parents gets a bit of ice-cream on a spoon. The tasting reveals that it’s chocolate. All players make a note that #1 is a chocolate ice cream.
Keep playing the game until kids discovered what flavor is each number. If the same number comes out as before, a player can just keep rolling the dice until a new number comes out. The first few times, it might be useful to make a little chart that shows progress.
|At this point, the probability of getting the indicated flavor is 1/2|
The game is fun. You are spending time together. You are laughing. And laughing together is a great bonding experience. What’s more, your kids will be convinced in no time that math is super fun!