# Mathematics Assessment Collaborative Tool Kits for Teachers Looking and Learning from Student Work 2009 Grade Eight

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1 Mathematics Assessment Collaborative Tool Kits for Teachers Looking and Learning from Student Work 2009 Grade Eight Contents by Grade Level: Overview of Exam Grade Level Results Cut Score and Grade History Reflection of the Whole Grade Level By Task Task Rubric Questions for Reflection Student Work Core Ideas, Strengths and Weaknesses Graph and Analysis of the Data Understandings and Misunderstandings Implications for Instruction Ideas for Action Research Grade Level Analysis Examining the Ramp

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5 Averages This problem gives you the chance to: identify an error about means calculate means and solve a problem involving means 1. In a test, the 10 students in Group 1 get a mean score of 43%. The 15 students in Group 2 get a mean score of 57%. Hank says, The mean score for all 25 students is 50%. a. What mistake has Hank made? b. What is the correct mean score for all 25 students? Show how you figured it out. 2. In a different test, the mean score of 50 students is 54%. The students are split into two groups, Group A and Group B. The mean score for Group A is 60% and the mean score for Group B is 50%. How many students are in Group A and how many are in Group B? Group A Group B Show how you figured it out. 9 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Averages 4

6 Averages Rubric The core elements of performance required by this task are: identify an error about means calculate means and solve a problem involving means Based on these, credit for specific aspects of performance should be assigned as follows points section points 1.a. b. Gives correct explanation such as: Hank has found the mean of 43% and 57%. He has not taken into account the sizes of the groups.. Gives correct answers: " " 57 Mean = = ! 2. Gives correct answers: 20 and 30 Shows work such as: If number in group A is X and number in Group B is Y, X + Y = 50 60X + 50Y = 50 x 54 Solution of the above to give 20 in group A and 30 in group B or Guess and check 2 or 2 4 Total Points 9 2 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. 5

8 Looking at Student Work on Averages Student A meets all the demands of the task. He has identified what Hank calculated and produced the correct solution for the weighted average. The student sets up a very good number sentence to solve for the number of students in part 2. Student A 7

9 Student B is able to complete all of part 1. However in part 2 the student confuses the test scores with the percentage of students. What prompt might help this student rethink his process in 2? Student B Student C is also able to solve all of part 1 correctly. In part 2 the student understands that the weighted average should be connected to the mean times the total students. However the student tries a variety of strategies, but can t reason about the next step in the process. This student has a lot of correct knowledge to work with. What question might help the student think through the final steps? Student C 8

10 Student D has some understanding of the weighted average. The student doesn t appear to connect repeated addition with multiplication in part 1b. In part 2 the thinking breaks down and the student divides the total students by 2 instead of dividing the total scores. Student D Student E is able to solve part 1 but struggles with part 2. The student attempts to analyze the differences, which could lead to a correct solution. However the student then just tries to use all the numbers in the problem. Student E 9

11 Student F has conflicting answers within his work. In part 2 the student tries to find a score for each of the 50 students that will add to 54%, rather than thinking of the process of averaging. Student F 10

12 Student G has some knowledge about averages. She can find the correct average for part 1 and discuss one possible error Hank could have made. In part 2 she tries to use the percentages to make sense of the numbers in each group instead of thinking of the percentages as test scores. Notice that the total students adds to more than 50. Student G 11

13 Student H is able to reason out what Hank has calculated, but cannot find a method to correctly calculate the mean in part 1. In part 2 the student tries to reason about the effect of the test scores on the average, but can t find a process for making a weighted average. Student H 12

14 Student I identifies Hank s error and then repeats it in part b. The student also tries to divide into the total students instead of the total test scores in part 2. Student I Student J divides the number of students into two equal groups instead of finding the mean of the test scores. The student has some concept of dividing to find a mean but consistently uses the wrong number to divide up. Notice that the total in part 2 is more than 50. Student J 13

15 Student K tries to reason about the size of the scores to determine why Hank is wrong in part 1. The student finds the total of the test scores instead of the average in part one. The student seems to be comfortable only with the operations of addition and subtraction. At no point does the student connect mean with division. What question might you ask of the student to find out what he knows about mean? What experiences might this student need? Student K 14

16 Student L confuses percents with an absolute value rather than a relative value in part 1. In part 2 the student attempts to use a double number line to find the solution. Knowing alternative strategies is useful, but only if they make sense to you. There is no advantage to learning another rote procedure. Student L 15

18 The maximum score available for this task is 9 points. The minimum score for a level 3 response, meeting standards, is 4 points. Some students, 28%, could identify Hank s error of averaging the test scores instead of compensating for the number of students in each group. 6% of the students could also calculate the weighted average in part 1. Less than one percent of the students could meet all the demands of the task, including identifying Hank s error, calculating a weighed average, and working backwards from a weighted average to find the size of the two groups. 71% of the students scored no points on this task. 80% of the students with this score attempted the task. 17

21 Now have students look at the picture: How does this show the idea of average? How could we use number calculations to check to see if the average is the same? Now have students look at the second picture. Can you use the picture to find the average? Can you use numbers to find the average? To begin any re-engagement lesson it is essential to spend time on or almost overemphasize the basic facts to allow students access to higher thinking that is the focus of the lesson. Because of the number of students who scored no points, I am choosing to look at partially correct work rather than going to misconceptions with this class. I want them to be able to adopt some successful strategies. Now I would have students look at some of the work samples from the task and try and make sense of what is happening. I think it is easier to start with the calculations in 1b before trying to make the generalizations in 1a. 20

22 I might ask, When looking at the work of Julie, I was confused. What do you think she is doing? Where do the numbers come from? I would give students time to think alone, then share in pairs before starting a class discussion. I want to maximize the amount of student talking and hold all students accountable for having an opinion. I might want them to predict if the average is going to be closer to 57 or 43, by having them give a thumb signal on the chest or using a white board. Again, I want all students to commit before having the class discussion. Then I would ask them to give reasons to support their choice. Finally I might ask, What do you think Julie did next? Why? Give students individual think time, then pair/share, and finally have a class discussion. I might also show the work of Joshua. 43 x 10 = 430, and 57 x 15 = 845 What is Joshua doing? Why? How does it help him solve the problem? How is it different from what Julie did? How is it the same? I want students to make the connection between addition of equal groups and multiplication. I think this is important for students functioning at this level. Next I would want students to think about the generalization in part 1a. I might start by saying that on Kevin s paper I saw = 100, 100 divided by 2 = 50. What was Kevin thinking? What is wrong with that? I want to know if students can now connect the thinking about averages with the misconception. Now look at student samples from your class or from the toolkits. How might you use student work to promote understanding on part 2? Discuss with colleagues how to continue the lesson? What are the big mathematical ideas you want students to get from the discussion? What kind of writing prompt might you give at the end of the lesson to check for understanding? What are some similar problems that you might give students a few days later to see if they understand the idea of weighted averages? 21

23 Square Patterns This problem gives you the chance to: work out percentages In Prague some sidewalks are made from small square tiles. The blocks are made from black and white tiles. This is one of the patterns. 1. How many black and white tiles are there in this pattern? black white 2. What percent of the tiles is black? Give your answer to one decimal place. Show how you figured it out. % Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Square Patterns 22

24 On the sidewalks the patterns are separated by areas of white tiles. 3. On one sidewalk there are 10 patterns separated by areas of 13 by 13 white tiles, with a 13 by 13 area of white tiles at each end. What percent of the tiles on the sidewalk is black? Explain how you figured it out. % 7 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Square Patterns 23

25 2009 Rubrics Averages Rubric The core elements of performance required by this task are: identify an error about means calculate means and solve a problem involving means Based on these, credit for specific aspects of performance should be assigned as follows points section points 1.a. b. Gives correct explanation such as: Hank has found the mean of 43% and 57%. He has not taken into account the sizes of the groups.. Gives correct answers: " " 57 Mean = = ! 2. Gives correct answers: 20 and 30 Shows work such as: If number in group A is X and number in Group B is Y, X + Y = 50 60X + 50Y = 50 x 54 Solution of the above to give 20 in group A and 30 in group B or Guess and check 2 or 2 4 Total Points 9 2 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. 24

27 Looking at Student Work on Square Pattern Student A shows thinking about the sections of the pattern to find the number of black and white tiles. In part 3 the student is able to generalize that all the columns are 13 and multiplies by the exact number of columns in the diagram. The student is comfortable with the process of finding percents. However the student does not consider how to replicate the larger pattern to 10 pieces with separators. Student A 26

28 Student A, continued In part 2, Student B understands that percents are made by dividing. The student can set up the fraction correctly but is unclear whether to divide the top into the bottom or the bottom into the top. The student tries both and is able to reason by the size of the fraction which one makes most sense. In part 3, Student B is also able to find the number of tiles in the diagram and sets up the correct fraction for making the percent. However the student does the calculation for total tiles divided by number of black. 27

29 Student B 28

30 Student C is able to solve parts 1 and 2 of the task. In part 3 the student only considers the 2 patterns shown and the 1 white separator, ignoring the two end columns of white. While the student knows the number of whites and the number of blacks the student does not find a total number of tiles. The student tries to find the percentage by dividing the blacks by the whites. Student C 29

31 Student D is able to do parts 1 and 2 successfully. Student D finds the number of tiles in the two patterns and 1 separator section. The student understands that the bottom of the fraction should represent the total tiles. However the student is unclear what the numerator should represent. The student first thinks about the ten patterns in the prompt and then reverts to the black tiles from part 1. The student doesn t consider that there are two pattern pieces, doubling the number of black tiles. Student D 30

32 Student E is able to successfully complete parts 1 and 2. Student E is the first example of a student attempting to replicate the pattern 10 times. The student makes the assumption that if the diagram shows two sections of the patterns, then duplicating the diagram 5 times will produce 10 patterns. Why doesn t this work? What about this won t work? The student has a clear sense of organizing and labeling work but does not calculate the number of whites correctly. What error has the student made? The student makes a transcription error in finding the number of blacks. Student E 31

33 Student F has some understanding of proportionality and percents. In part 2 the student compares the sizes of the two parts and makes a reasonable estimate of the percent. The student also attempts to estimate the percent in the second part, but without calculating the total whites and blacks the estimate is not very close. What would be your next step with this student? Student F 32

34 Student F, continued Student G has some partially learned procedural information about percents and moving decimals points. The student has no understanding of percents as a comparison of part to whole. Student G 33

35 Student H does not know how to organize his thinking. In part 1 the student relies on counting every tile, which is laborious and leads to errors. The student counts 88 black and 81 while. The student divides the black into the total tiles to find the percentage. In part 3 the student shows numbers larger than 108, but is not concerned with inconsistencies. To find the percent the student uses language to suggest again dividing the total by part, but in actuality the student does the reverse. The student lacks the language of division to help organize thinking and is unclear about the meaning of the division expressed in the fractional notation. There is a conjecture that we can only think about things we have words for. How do we help students develop mathematical language, both in words and in notation? What would be your next steps with this student? Student H 34

36 Student H, continued Student I is able to look at sections of the diagram and reason about the size. The student has some partially learned procedural knowledge about using percents to multiply. The student looks at the two patterns and one separator section in the diagram in part 3 and understands how to find the number of white in the patterns, black in the patterns, and white in the middle section. But the student can t reason about the meaning of operation to find the total tiles and forgets that the number of blacks is 170. So the student does a series of unconnected operations of addition and subtraction. The student knows the percents are used in multiplication and so multiplies by the 10 pattern pieces. How could you pose a series of questions to get the student to think about labels and meaning of operations? 35

37 Student I 36

38 Student I, continued 37

39 Student J also has some partially learned procedural information about percents being part of 100 In part 2 the student shows division by 100 notationally, but in fact divides the 84 into 100. The student makes a similar error in part 3. How do we work with students with this partial information or misinformation? What types of discussions or experiences help them let go of these ideas and make the effort to learn new ones? What understandings do they show that we might build upon? Student J 38

40 8 th Grade Task 2 Square Patterns Student Task Core Idea 4 Geometry & Measurement Core Idea 1 Number and Operations Core Idea 2 Mathematical Reasoning Recognize and extend a pattern. Calculate percentages in a geometric pattern. Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas to determine measurements. Understand number systems, the meanings of operations, and ways of representing numbers, relationships, and number systems. Work flexibly with fractions, decimals, and percents to solve problems. Understand and use the inverse relationships to simplify computations and solve problems. Employ forms of mathematical reasoning and justification appropriately to the solution of a problem. Extract pertinent information from situations and determine what additional information is needed. Formulate conjectures and test them for validity. Use mathematical language and representations to make complex situations easier to understand. Mathematics of this task: Composing and decomposing a figure to find the number of tiles of each color Understanding percents as a comparison of part to whole Calculating percents and rounding Reasoning about extending a pattern, identifying the units to be replicated Understanding that the white separators will be one more than the number of pattern pieces Organizing calculations, showing what is known and what needs to be calculated Understanding division, the language of division, and divisional notation Based on teacher observation, this is what eighth graders know and are able to do: Count the number of black and white tiles in the pattern Students could find the total number of tiles Areas of difficulty for eighth graders: Calculating a percentage Organizing information Extending the pattern beyond the diagram, understanding what it means to have 10 patterns Understanding the language of division and divisional notation 39

41 The maximum score available for this task is 7 points. The minimum score needed for a level 3 response, meeting standards, is 4 points. Many students, 85%, could count the number of black or white tiles. Almost 70% could count both accurately. Some students, 28% could find the percentage of black tiles in the pattern. 16% could show how they calculated the percentage. About 7% of the students could reason about the tiles shown in the diagram to find a percentage in part 3. About 1% of the students could meet all the demands of the task, including extending the pattern to 10 steps. Almost 15% scored no points on this task. All of the students in the sample with this score attempted the task. 40

42 Square Patterns Points Understandings Misunderstandings 0 All the students in the sample with this score attempted the task. Students did not break the diagram into parts to find the number of tiles. They attempted to count every square. 2 Students could find the total number of black tiles and white tiles. 3 Students could find the number of black and white tiles and calculate the percentage of black tiles in the pattern. 4 Students could find the number of black and white tiles and calculate the percentage of black tiles in the pattern and show their work. 5 Students could also reason about the black and whites in a new diagram and find the percentage of blacks. 7 Students could find the total number of black and white tiles in a pattern and calculate the percentage of blacks. They could reason about extending the pattern to 10 sections and determine the number of white spacers needed and calculate the percentage. They decomposed their shapes into parts and used multiplication to find the number of tiles in the section. They had an systematic approach to organizing calculations. Students did not know how to find a percentage. 13% just moved decimal points to get 85%. 14% showed no work for this part. Students were confused about which numbers to divide into, often dividing the part into the whole. Students could not think beyond the diagram to extend the pattern to 10 pieces. Therefore they never grappled with how many large white squares would be needed. 41

44 After some discussion, the teacher might say that on another paper she saw: 12 x 7 = What do you think the student was looking at? What was the student trying to figure out? The idea is for students to think of different ways of decomposing the shape into smaller parts and be able to link number sentences to the geometric shapes. By giving students more than one set of number sentences for the white squares, students with different ways of viewing the shape are validated for their thinking. Now the teacher might ask students to find a number sentence for finding the black tiles. What do you think students might come up with? If a student said: 13 x =. What do you think they were looking at? How were they seeing the shape? Students had a very difficult time calculating percentages. Looking through the toolkit or your own student work, what pieces might you use to pose some questions for the class? How could you use just parts of the work so everyone has to rethink the problem? What is the mathematics you want students to walk away with? What misconceptions do you want students to confront and talk about? Why is it important for students to discuss misconceptions and decide why they don t make sense? In the final part of the pattern, students had a difficult time just visualizing the whole pattern. Using some Cuisenaire rods, use the unit rod for the sidewalk pieces and one of the intermediate rods, (maybe a size 3) to represent the white spacers. Have students build a sidewalk pattern for 5 sidewalk tiles. Ask them how many spacers would they need? How many sidewalk tiles? How could they find the total number of whites? How could they find the total number of blacks? How could they make a rule for finding the total for any number of sidewalk tiles in words? In algebraic expressions? Now have students work individually or in pairs to find the solution to part 3 of the task. How would you ask some questions to get closure on the lesson? What are some of the big mathematical ideas you hope students walk away with at the end of the lesson? 43

45 Marble Game This problem gives you the chance to: use probability in an everyday situation Linda has designed a marble game. Bag A Bag B 1. Bag A contains 3 marbles one red, one blue and one green. Bag B contains 2 marbles one red and one blue. G B R R B To play this game, a player draws one marble from each bag without looking. If the two marbles match (are the same color), the player wins a prize. What is the theoretical probability of winning a prize at a single try? Show your work. 2. Here are the results for the first 30 games. How do the results in this table and the theoretical probability you found compare? Win (Match) No Win (No Match) Explain any differences. Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Marble Game 44

46 3. Linda has designed a second game. The spinner has nine equal sections. To play the game, a player spins the spinner. Blue Red Gold If the spinner lands on a Gold section, the player wins a prize. Does the player have a better chance of winning with the bag game or the spinner game? Gold Red Gold Red Red Gold Explain your reasoning. 7 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Marble Game 45

47 Marble Game Rubric The core elements of performance required by this task are: listed here Based on these, credit for specific aspects of performance should be assigned as follows points section points 1. Gives correct answer: 2 6 = 1 3 Lists all possibilities: RR, RB, BR, BB, GR, GB p(rr or BB) = 2/6 or 1/3 or! Shows work such as: Probability R " R = 1 3 # 1 2 Probability B " B = 1 3 # or 1 1! Probability both same color =! 2. These results are quite close; ! but the number of trials is not large enough to give an accurate estimate. or Explains that from these results the experimental probability 9 = 30 = 3 10 = 0.3 The theoretical probability = 0.33 recurring! 3. Gives correct answer: the spinner game Shows work such as: 1 the probability of winning on the spinner game is 4/9 = 0.44 recurring 2 Total Points 7 Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. 46

48 Marble Game Work the task and look at the rubric. What are the key mathematical ideas being assessed in this task? What activities or experiences have students had with probability this year to help prepare them for the High School Exit Exam? How do you help students draw or define sample spaces? What models do they know? Look at student work on part 1. How many of your students put: 1/3 2/3 4/5 2/5 1/5 Red Other Make a list of models students used to figure out probability: Organized list Formula Now look at student work of part 2. How many students: Knew the probability was 9/30 or 30%? Did not compare to the two probabilities? Thought that winning was unlikely (nonnumerical)? Thought there were less wins than losses? Thought the probability was 9/21 or 3/7? What are some of the big ideas about quantifying probability that your students did not understand? Now look at student work on part 3, finding the probability of the spinner. How many of your students thought the spinner was better? the bag game was better? they were equal? How many of your students did not attempt to quantify the probability for winning the spinner? 47

49 Looking at Student Work on Marble Game Student A is able to make an organized list to show the sample space in part 1 and quantify the probability. The student does not how to convert the frequency table into a probability but recognizes that the total is important to the fraction. The student is able to quantify the probability on the spinner and compare it correctly to the bag game. Student A 48

50 Student B is able to get the correct probability, but from drawing the sample space incorrectly. What error has the student made? The student is able to calculate the experimental probability from the frequency table and understands that the denominators need to be the same to compare the two probabilities. However the student makes the wrong choice when comparing the two. The student has a complete explanation for part 3. Student B 49

51 Student C is able to draw a complete sample space and identify the winning choices, the student even gives the numerical probability. The student does not see the importance of the numerical probability with the idea of likely, unlikely, and certain, etc. dominating the thinking. Notice that in part 2 the student doesn t quantify the experimental probability. The student does give the correct numerical probability in part 3. Student C 50

52 Student D is not very explanatory and relies on numbers. In part 1 the student thinks about a variety of choices, but lands on the correct probability. In part 2 the student quantifies the probability, but makes no attempt to compare the probabilities. In part 3 the student finds the numerical probability. Student D 51

53 Student E is able to define the sample space and give a definition for finding probability. The student can t turn the definition into a numerical expression. Instead the student quantifies the number of wins. In part 2 the student is also concerned with winning or losing rather than a numerical expression. The student subtracts wins from losses with the frequency table, rather than comparing the probability in 1 with the probability in 2. The student could find the numerical probability for the spinner. How do we help students to see the relevance for the numerical probability when their focus is on the importance of winning? What would make this important to them? Student E 52

54 Student F gets the correct probability, but for the wrong reasons. The student seems to think about 2 bags, so 50% and 50% to get 100. Then the student divides by the 3 marbles in the first bag. The student does calculate correctly the experimental probability. In part 3 the student incorrectly counts the number of sections on the spinner. The student doesn t combine the winning choices. Student F 53

55 Student G is able to make a list for the sample space, but doesn t know how to use it to write a correct probability. The student does not use the total in either part 1 or part 2. The student doesn t understand how to set up the probability for the spinner, and instead seems to compare the reds from the two games. Student G 54

56 Student H attempts to draw the sample space, but uses the first bag twice. The student seems to think that games should be fair, have a 50% chance of winning in part 2. The student is able to identify the winning spaces on the spinner, but then compares chances to chances rather than probability. Student H 55

57 Student I identifies the winning combinations in part 1, but sets up the probability with total marbles instead of total possibilities. What experiences help students to understand the distinction between the two? In part 2 the student seems to compare the winning to not winning rather than set up a probability. In part 3 the student doesn t quantify the fraction for winning on the spinner. Student I 56

58 8 th Grade Task 3 Marble Game Student Task Use probability in an everyday situation. Core Idea 2 Probability Apply and deepen understanding of theoretical and empirical probability. Determine theoretical and experimental probabilities and use these to make predictions about events. Represent probabilities as ratios, proportions, decimals or percents. Represent the sample space for a given event in an organized way. Mathematics of this task: Define a sample space for a game Identify winning combinations Express theoretical probability numerically Convert data from a frequency table to an experimental probability Compare probabilities by finding commonality (percents, common denominator) Find simple probability for a spinner Based on teacher observation, this is what eighth graders know and are able to do: Determine the game with the best probability of winning Identify the probability on a spinner Areas of difficulty for eighth graders: Understanding the difference between marbles and the total possibilities in setting up the probabilities Defining a sample space for a compound event Still thinking about likely/ unlikely or wining/losing instead of in terms of numerical probabilities Comparing colors in the bag game and spinner instead of the probabilities Using numbers to quantify the probability in the frequency table and spinner 57

59 The maximum score available for this task is 7 points. The minimum score for a level 3 response, meeting standards, is 4 points. More than half the students, 60%, could identify the winning game. Some students, 28%, could also give the numerical probability for winning the spinner game. About 7% of the students could find the probability for winning the bag game (their reasoning may not have been correct). Less than 1% of the students could meet all the demands of the task including defining the sample space for the bag game and giving the theoretical and experimental probability and noticing that they were close in value. 40% of the students scored no points on this task. 92% of the students in the sample with this score attempted the task. 58

60 Marble Game Points Understandings Misunderstandings 0 40% of the students in the sample got this score. 92% of them attempted the task. 18% of the students thought the chances of winning the bag game were better. 10% thought the chances were the same for both games. 20% made no attempt to quantify the probability on the spinner game. Some students subtracted winning outcomes (4-1 Students could select the game with the highest probability of winning. 2 Students could give the probability of winning on the spinner and knew it was a higher probability than the bag game. 3 Students could work with the spinner game and find the probability for the bag game. 4 Students could find the correct probability for the bag game with correct reasoning, give the correct probability for the spinner game, and compare the two values. 7 Students could reason about a compound event, define the sample space, and write a probability. Students could convert a frequency table into an experimental probability. Students could compare probabilities by converting them to decimals, percents or fractions with common denominators. Students could give a probability for a simple event like a spinner. 2). Students could not support their reasoning by quantifying the probability on the spinner. Students could not find the probability for winning the bag game. 8% thought the probability was 4/5. 8% thought the probability was 2/3. 8% thought the probability was 2/5. Students could not give convincing or correct justification for their probability. Many students arrived at a probability of 1/3 using incorrect logic. Students could not write the experimental probability or compare it to the probability for the bag game. 13% used the word unlikely instead of giving a numerical value. 13% did not attempt this part of the task. 8% of the students compared winning to losing in the frequency table instead of comparing the frequency table to the theoretical probability in part 1. 59

61 Implications for Instruction Students need more exposure to probability. While in elementary school, students learn about probability in terms of likelihood, in middles school students should start to make progress on quantifying probability. Students need to see the difference between odds (favorable outcomes to unfavorable outcomes) and probability (favorable outcomes to total possible outcomes). Before any of this can be determined, students need to be able to develop sample space. The spinner is easy because all of the spaces were equal size and could be added together. Students understand generally how to determine probability on a single number cube. They have trouble with compound events: rolling a die and then rolling a second die or spinning a spinner; drawing from two different bags. Students need to practice with strategies like making an organized list or drawing a tree diagram to help them develop all the possible outcomes. Some students still have trouble distinguishing between the actual objects used in the event (marbles in the bag) and the outcome of drawing the red marble. Some students need to understand that probability is the chance of something happening rather than winning. Many students were only focused on winning the game. Students need to think about the difference between theoretical probability and experimental probability. While many students could quantify the size of the experimental probability, there was little evidence about the difference between chance and expected values. Ideas for Action Research With 40% of the students scoring no points on this task, students need to do some serious work with the idea of probability. While this isn t an eighth grade standard, it is tested on the High School Exit exam. Probability is also an interesting way to help students review ideas about fractions and decimals, making them feel like they are studying a new topic. Before trying to formalize the information, students just need to build up some experiential knowledge. They need lots of experiences with games of chance. Some interesting tasks can be found in Chance Encounters by Education Development Center, Inc. One group of activities involves describing probabilities as fractions, percents, decimals and ratios. It is called Designing Mystery Spinner Games. See a part of the activity on the next page. A different set of activities is to decide if games are Fair. See examples on following pages. A problem of the month on Fair Games is also available on the SVMI website: 60

62 How does this activity press students to practice skills such as using fractions, decimals, and percentages? How does it help students use justification and mathematical reasoning? 61

63 62

64 In this game, students are asked to help Terry decide which is the better game to play. How does this help students practice basic skills? What strategies do you think students might use to rank the games? 63

65 64

66 Vincent s Graphs This problem gives you the chance to: interpret graphs draw a graph Vincent is eating a packet of raisins. This graph shows the changes in the mass of raisins in the packet as time passes. M ass i n g r ams Ti me i n m i n u te s 1.a. What is Vincent doing when there is a vertical line on the graph? b. Why are the vertical lines of different lengths? c. Did Vincent eat all the raisins? Explain how you know. 2. Ellie is drinking with a straw from a box of fruit juice. The graph shows the volume of juice in the box as time passes. Volume in milliliters Time in minutes a. What is happening when the line on the graph is horizontal? b. Why do the lines going downwards on this graph go at an angle? Copyright 2009 by Mathematics Assessment Resource Service. Vincent s Graph 65

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