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Probability Task Analysis

Justin Laurens

University of Georgia

EMAT 3900

Dr. Ryan Smith

August 30, 2016

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 2

1. Task

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 3

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 4

This task was taken and modified from the NOYCE Foundation, via the 2004

Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) or Balanced Assessment tasks (Tools for

Teachers, p.45-59). This is a high cognitive demand task as defined by Smith and Stein

(2011) to be a “higher-level demands” task that involves aspects of both “procedures with

connections” and “doing math” (p.16). Prior connections to different methods of

determining the probability as well as the number of counters in Gina’s bag lead to multiple

procedures which students’ may use to arrive at different possible conclusions. By providing

minimal information, and having the student draw probability conclusions without implied

algorithms, this task requires the student to commit to doing mathematics as Smith and Stein

(2011) categorize as requiring “students to explore and understand the nature of

mathematical concepts, processes, or relationships. This lack of a specified algorithmic

approach to the task requires students to draw on prior knowledge in order to push their

understanding. Requiring the student to “explain” during the task demands recall of previous

understanding as well as implicitly expecting the student to demonstrate mastery of analyzing

probability.

Smith and Stein (2011) also state that higher-level demand tasks involving procedures

with connections can be often “represented in multiple ways, such as visual diagrams,

manipulatives, symbols, and problem situations,” while “making connections among multiple

representations helps develop meaning” (p.16). In order to maintain the students’ interest,

the final questions in the task are open to multiple responses, which Middleton and Jansen

(2011) claim is crucial, stating “we can sustain students’ interest by…giving students task at

an appropriate degree of challenge,” thus motivating student’s cognitive development

**(p.151). By determining multiple changes to help Gina raise money for charity, the task
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 5

requires students to “analyze the task and actively examine task constraints that may limit

possible solutions strategies and solutions,” thus classifying this task as a high cognitive

demand task (Smith and Stein, p.16).

2. Task Solution

Solution Method 1:

1.

1

a. Probability of Red =

2

1 1 1

Probability of Green = of Red, or ÷2=

2 2 4

Probability of Blue, Yellow, and White are equal

Thus remaining split evenly =

1 1 1 1

( 2 4 4)

( 1−P ( ¿ )−P ( ¿ ) ) ÷ 3= 1− − ÷ 3= ∗3=

12

**Color REd Green Blue Yellow White
**

PROBABILITY 1 1 1 1 1

2 4 12 12 12

In order to find the theoretical probability of drawing each color

individually from the bag, we first know that there is a given probability of

1

drawing a Red counter is . In this part of the task, we are not given the

2

**sample space, thus the probabilities must be calculated for any sample space
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 6

1

size. The probability of drawing a Green counter is of the probability of

2

drawing a Red, thus we can determine that half of the probability of Red is

1

, which gives the probability of drawing Green. The probability of

4

drawing a counter of any color is 1, thus we know that all the probabilities

must add up to 1. We are given that the probability of drawing either a Blue,

Yellow, or White counter is equally likely, thus we can determine that the total

chance of drawing one of those colors by subtracting the Probability of Red

**and the Probability of Green from 1, or (1− 12 − 14 )=¿ 1
**

4

. Then since

each color, Blue, Yellow, and White are equally likely, we can divide the

1 1

remaining probability by 3, giving a chance of drawing Blue, a

12 12

1

chance of drawing Yellow, and a chance of drawing Green.

12

b. Let White = 4 , then Blue = 4 and Yellow = 4

1

Then of bag is ( 4 +4 +4 )=12 , so Green = 12

4

Then Red = 2∗12=24

Therefore, 4 +4 +4 +12+24=48

In this task, the sample space is not defined, thus we can make a simulated

sample space based on our probability model of drawing different colored

counters out of the bag. Since White shares the lowest probability of being

drawn, let there be 4 White counters in the bag. Because the probability of

**drawing them is equal, then there are also 4 Blue, and 4 Yellow counters.
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 7

1

These three colors together make up of the number of counters in the

4

bag, thus ( 4 +4 +4 )=12 . Since the probability of drawing Green is also

1

, then there are 12 Green counters, and because the probability of green

4

1

is of the probability of Red, then there are twice as many Red counters

2

as Green counters, or 24 Red counters in the bag. Then by adding all the

different counters together, there are 4 +4 +4 +12+24=48 counters in the

bag.

2.

a. Make 48∗$ 0.10=$ 4.80

Cost 4∗$ 0.20=$ 0.80

4∗$ 0.50=$ 2.00

4∗$ 1.00=$ 4.00

Expected Cost $ 0.80+$ 2.00+$ 4.00=$ 6.80

The expected payoff of a chance probability can be determined by

considering every possibility of drawing counters from the bag, and

calculating how much she would take in versus how much she would expect

to pay out. Since there are 48 counters in the bag, then if Gina had 48 people

play the game, theoretically, every counter would be chosen once, which

would have her pay out prize money to 4 Blue, 4 Yellow, and 4 White

counters. Thus she should expect to pay 4∗$ 0.20=$ 0.80 for Blue

counters, 4∗$ 0.50=$ 2.00 for Yellow counters, and 4∗$ 1.00=$ 4.00

for White counters. She can expect to pay out

$ 0.80+$ 2.00+$ 4.00=$ 6.80 . Since Gina has 48 people play the game at

**10¢ each, she can expect to make 48∗$ 0.10=$ 4.80 . Since the expected
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 8

value of payout is greater than the value taken in, Gina can expect to lose

$ 6.80−$ 4.80=$ 2.00 if she has 48 people play her counter game.

b. Expected Cost $ 0.80+$ 2.00+$ 4.00=$ 6.80

Charge 12¢ - 48∗$ 0.12=$ 5.76

Charge 14¢ - 48∗$ 0.14=$ 6.72

Charge 15¢ - 48∗$ 0.15=$ 7.20

In order for Gina to make money from the game, she needs to change the

amount she charges to play so that she can expect to make more that she

expects to pay out. Thus, keeping the 48 tries to preserve the probabilities, by

guessing and checking different values greater than 10¢, we find that at 15¢,

**Gina makes $ 7.20 and expects to payout $ 6.80 .
**

c. Blue Pays out 20¢, Yellow pays out 25¢, White pays out 50¢

( 4∗$ 0.20 ) + ( 4∗$ 0.25 ) + ( 4∗$ 0.50 ) =$ 0.80+$ 1.00+ $ 2.00=$ 3.80

Sum of payouts is less than $4.80; thus Gina would expect to make money.

In order for Gina to make money at a cost of 10¢ per game, the expected

payout needs to be less than the money she makes. Using the 48 tries to

preserve each colors probability, then Gina would need to expect to pay out

less than $4.80. Thus by changing the payout for Blue, Yellow, and White to

values that when multiplied by 4 sum to less than $4.80, she can expect to

make money from the counter game.

Solution Method 2:

1.

1

a. Red =

2

1

∗1

Green = 2 1

=

2 4

1

∗1

Blue, Yellow, and White = 4 1

=

3 12

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 9

Color REd Green Blue Yellow White

PROBABILITY 1 1 1 1 1

2 4 12 12 12

To find the theoretical probability of drawing each color individually from

1

the bag, the given probability of drawing a Red counter is . The

2

1

probability of drawing a Green counter is times the probability of

2

1

drawing a Red, thus the probability of drawing Green is . Since

4

1

independent probabilities must add up to 1, then there is a probability of

4

drawing a Blue, Yellow, or White counter. Then since each color, Blue,

1

∗1 1

Yellow, and White are equally likely, 4 1 , giving a chance of

= 12

3 12

1 1

drawing Blue, a chance of drawing Yellow, and a chance of

12 12

drawing Green.

1 1 1 1 6

b. Least Common Denominator of , , and is 12, thus = ,

2 4 12 2 12

1 3

and =

4 12

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 10

Given the number of white counters (w) ,

1 w+1 w+1 w+ 3 w+6 w=12 w

Thus the number of counters in the bag will always be a multiple of 12.

The sample space is not defined; thus we can make a simulated sample

space based on our probabilities by finding the least common denominator of

1 1 1

all the probabilities, of , , and , which is 12. Using this least

2 4 12

1 6

common denominator we can determine that for since = , and

2 12

1 3

= , that for every single Blue, Yellow, or White counter, there must be

4 12

six times as many Red counters, and three times as many Green counters. An

equation for the number of counters in the bag can be written from this

information based on the number of any color in the bag. Since White shares

the lowest probability of being drawn, let there be w White counters in the

bag, thus providing the equation, 1 w+1 w+1 w+ 3 w+6 w=12 w , for the

number of counters in the bag based on the number of White counters.

Therefore, there may be any total number of counters in the bag as long as it is

a multiple of 12, thus insuring a whole number of each color of counter. For

example, 18 Red, 9 Green, 3 Blue, 3 Yellow, and 3 White giving a total of 36

counters in the bag.

2.

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 11

a. In 12 tries, Gina makes $1.20 but would expect to pay out

$ 0.20+$ 0.50+$ 1.00=$ 1.70 . Thus Gina should expect a loss of

$ 0.50 for every 12 tries.

Since the expected value of Gina’s game is the amount Gina can expect to

make minus the amount she expects to payout due to probability, we can

determine why Gina loses money by looking at the smallest whole number of

counters in the bag; 6 Red, 3 Green, 1 Blue, 1 Yellow, and 1 White. If there were

twelve tries, Gina would make 12∗$ 0.10=$ 1.20 , and she would expect to

pay $ 0.20 for Blue, $ 0.50 for Yellow, and $ 1.00 for White. Since

Gina makes $ 1.20 and pays out $ 1.70 in 12 tries, then she can expect to

lose $ 1.70−$ 1.20=$ 0.50 for every 12 tries.

b. y=12 ( x )−($ 1.70) , where x is

cost to play.

0=12 ( x )−$ 1.70

$ 1.70=12 ( x )

$ 1.70

x= =$ 0.1416 so

12

x ≥ 14.16 ¢

By creating an equation involving the expected value ( y ) based on the

cost to play ( x) , we can find the “break-even” point. Using 12 tries to

preserve the probabilities, Gina can expect to make 12 times the cost to play

( x) , and expect to lose $ 0.20 for Blue, $ 0.50 for Yellow, and

$ 1.00 for White, or a total of $ 1.70 . Thus by creating the equation

**y=12 ( x )−($ 1.70) , we can graph the function to determine at what cost
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 12

Gina will have a positive expected value, as well as set y=0 and solve for

x . As long as Gina charges more to play than 14.16 ¢ , she can expect

**to make money from the game.
**

c. y=12 ( $ 0.10 )−x , where y is cost expected payout, and x is total

payout probability.

0=12 ( $ 0.10 )−x

x=$ 1.20

Payout ≤ x ≤ $ 1.20

Using the 12 tries to preserve the probability, and setting the cost of the

game at 10 ¢ , the break-even point can be found by creating an equation

where y is the expected value after 12 tries, and x is the sum of the possible

payouts. Thus it can be determined that as long as the payouts sum to less

than $ 1.20 , Gina will make money with her counter game

Solution Method 3:

1.

a. Red = 1÷ 2=.5=50

Green = 50 ÷ 2=.5 ÷ 2=.25=25

Blue, Yellow, and White =

25 ÷ 3=.25 ÷ 3=.0833=8.33

**Color REd Green Blue Yellow White
**

PROBABILITY 50 25 8.33 8.33 8.33

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 13

To find the theoretical probability of drawing each color individually from

the bag, we know that all probabilities must add up to one. Using a pie-chart,

we can model the probability percentages. Given probability of drawing a

1

Red counter is , then by dividing the whole by two, one half of the chart

2

will be Red, or 1÷ 2=.5=50 . Given probability of drawing a Green

1

counter is of the Red probability, then by dividing the remaining half of

2

the pie by two will give the amount of the chart that will be Green, or

50 ÷ 2=.5 ÷ 2=.25=25 . This leaves 25 of the chart to be split up

evenly between Blue, Yellow, and White counters, thus

25 ÷ 3=.25 ÷ 3=.0833=8.33 .

b. 6 Red, 3 Green, 1 Blue, 1 Yellow, 1 White = 12 Total Counters

Knowing the percentage probabilities from part a, we can find the least

possible number of counters in the bag by relating each colors probability to

the others. By creating a table, we can build the bag of counters. Since the

pie chart shows there is 25% Green and 50 % Red, then we know that Red

**must have twice as many colored squares as green since .25∗2=.5 . Thus
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 14

we color in two red squares for every Green square. Since the Blue, Yellow,

and White counters make up the same proportion of the bag, then they must

have the same number of squares colored in. Since the Blue, Yellow and

White counters make up 25% of the bag, and the Green counters make up

25% of the bag, then we need to have as many Green squares as we have

Blue, Yellow and White squares together. Thus if we color in 1 Blue, 1

Yellow, and 1 White square, then we need to color in 3 Green squares, and

thus need to color in 6 Red squares to maintain the pie chart’s proportion. By

adding these squares together, we determine that there are 12 counters in

Gina’s bag

2.

a. ( .50∗$ 0.10 )=$ 0.05

( .25∗$ 0.10 )=$ 0.025

( .0833∗−$ 0.10 )=−$ 0.0083

( .0833∗−$ 0.40 )=−$ 0.033

( .0833∗−$ 0.90 )=−$ 0.075

Expected Value = −$ 0.0413

Using the percentage probability of the pie chart, expected value can be

determined by summing each colors probability multiplied by the net income

of its payout. So since Gina makes 10¢ if Red is chosen, then the net income

is ( 50 ∗$ 0.10 )=$ 0.05 . Gina makes 10¢ if Green is chosen, thus the net

income is ( 25 ∗$ 0.10 )=$ 0.025 . Gina loses 10¢ ( 10 ¢−20 ¢=−10¢ ) if

Blue is chosen, thus the net income is ( 8.33 ∗−$ 0.10 )=−$ 0.0083 . Gina

loses 40¢ ( 10 ¢−50 ¢=−40 ¢ ) if Yellow is chosen, thus the net income is

**( 8.33 ∗−$ 0.40 )=−$ 0.033 . Gina loses 90¢ ( 10 ¢−$ 1.00=−90¢ ) if
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 15

White is chosen, thus the net income is ( 8.33 ∗−$ 0.90 )=−$ 0.075 . SO

the expected value for Gina for each try of her counter game is

$ 0.05+$ 0.025−$ 0.0083−$ 0.033−$ 0.075=−$ 0.0413 .

b. Let y equal the expected value, and x equal the cost to play

y=.5 x +.25 x −.0833 ( $ 0.20−x )−.0833 ( $ 0.50−x )−.0833 ( $ 1.00−x )

y=x−0.14161 so y≥0 when x ≥ 14.161¢

Using the probability model to determine the expected value of the game,

y , an equation can be made to determine the price Gina should charge,

x , in order to determine her break-even point. Thus as long as Gina

charges more than 14.161¢ to play the game, she will make money.

c. Let y equal the expected value, and x equal the max each payout can

be if they are all the same.

y=.5 ( $ 0.10 ) +.25 ( $ 0.10 )+ .0833 ( $ 0.10 ) +.0833 ( $ 0.10 ) +.0833 ( $ 0.10 )−.25 x

y=( $ 0.05 ) + ( $ 0.025 ) + ( $ 0.00833 ) +( $ 0.00833)+( $ 0.00833)−.25 x

y=$ 0.10−.25 x

$ 0.10

x≤ ∨$ 0.40

.25

Using the probability model to determine the expected value of the game,

**y , an equation can be made to determine the maximum amount each payout
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 16

could be, x , if all the payouts were the same, in order to break even. Thus as

long as Gina pays out less than 40 ¢ for each Blue, Yellow, or White chosen, or

less than a total of 3 ( 40 ¢ ) =$ 1.20 , she will make money.

3. Standards Addressed

Georgia Standards of Excellence (Georgia Department of Education, 2016)

1. MGSE7.SP.5 Understand that the probability of a chance event is a number between

0 and 1 that expresses the likelihood of the event occurring. Larger numbers indicate

greater likelihood. A probability near 0 indicates an unlikely event, a probability

around 1/2 indicates an event that is neither unlikely nor likely, and a probability near

1 indicates a likely event (Mathematics Standards 6th-8th Grade, p.16).

The task requires the student to determine the probability of drawing different colors

of counters out of a bag, which requires the student display comprehension that

probability of a chance event occurring is between zero and 1. Thus, the student will

need to demonstrate this knowledge when calculating the probabilities of drawing the

different colors in order to fill out the table provided.

2. MGSE7.SP.7b Develop a probability model (which may not be uniform) by

observing frequencies in data generated from a chance process. For example, find the

approximate probability that a spinning penny will land heads up or that a tossed

paper cup will land open-end down. Do the outcomes for the spinning penny appear

to be equally likely based on the observed frequencies (Mathematics Standards 6th-8th

Grade, p.16).

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 17

Determining the possible numbers of each color of counter in the bag will help the

student in developing the probability model for Gina’s counter game. This will also help

the student understand possible outcomes of the chance process as well as lead to further

exploration when modeling whether or not Gina can expect to make money for her

charity from the game.

3. MGSE7.SP.8 Find probabilities of compound events using organized lists, tables, tree

diagrams, and simulation (Mathematics Standards 6th-8th Grade, p.16).

Students will use a table to record the probability of each chance occurrence of

drawing a specific color counter from the bag, as well as help develop the number of each

color of counter in the bag. The students have the opportunity to use simulation, tree

diagrams, and lists in order to investigate chance probability and apply it to Gina’s intent

of raising money for her charity through the game. Graphs and diagrams can be used to

determine what amount of money Gina should charge, or how she can change the game

in order to give herself the expectation of making money.

4. MGSE9-12.S.MD.5 Weigh the possible outcomes of a decision by assigning

probabilities to payoff values and finding expected values (High School Mathematics

Standards, p.27).

Determining whether or not Gina will make money for her charity using the ten cent

cost of playing the game allows students to weigh outcomes based on payoff value.

**Requiring the student to determine an amount which Gina should charge to make money
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 18

further instills the importance of finding expected values and analyzing the game based

on the given outcomes.

5. MGSE9-12.S.MD.7 Analyze decisions and strategies using probability concepts

(e.g., product testing, medical testing, pulling a hockey goalie at the end of a game)

(High School Mathematics Standards, p.27).

In order to design a change to Gina’s counter game to ensure making money for her

charity requires the student to analyze the game using probability concepts to develop

decisions and strategies which will make the game profitable. By requiring explanation

from the student, interpreting the concepts behind chance occurrence probability and

relating them to expected values should be presented.

4. Possible Student Approaches

There are many different approaches students may use to solve the task, including multiple

possible methods that may develop comprehension as well as display misconceptions.

According to Tools for Teachers (2016), “Students understood part/whole relationships and could

use them to correctly calculate probabilities and find the number of counters in a jar. Students

could use probabilities and pay offs to calculate expected values and reason about profit. They

could use the expected values to change the price of the game or the payoffs effectively. Students

also had to use logic about a game situation to understand that people won’t play a game if there

**is no way to win” (p.58).
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 19

For the first part of the task, students are asked to determine the probability of drawing each

different color of counter, as well as develop an experimental value of the number of counters of

each color in the bag based off the calculated probabilities. Most students will approach the

calculation of the probabilities using multiplication or division using the provided values, similar

to solution methods 1 and 2 (above). It is also possible that students may recognize that the

probabilities must add up to 1, and attempt to divide a pie chart in order to visualize the

probabilities (Solution Method 3). Most importantly, the students require understanding of

part/whole relationships in order to determine the probabilities, and then they must use these

relationships to generate a sample space of the number of counters in the bag. In this part,

students have the freedom to establish their own sample space as long as the resultant number of

counters in the bag is a multiple of 12, and the part/whole relationship between colors is

maintained in that sample space. Initially, it seems likely that most students will develop the bag

size of 12 counters, or the simplest form of sample space (Solution 2 & 3). Student extension of

comprehension can be shown by creating different sized bags, or recognizing the constraints of

the number of counters being a multiple of 12.

In the second part of the task, students are asked to explain why, given the cost and payout of

Gina’s counter game, she is not expected to make money, how much she should charge to ensure

she makes money, and how she can change the game and keep the cost to play the same to expect

to make money. In order to explain mathematically why Gina’s game is expected to lose money,

students will need to relate the part/whole relationships from the first part of the task and apply

them to an expected outcome in order to compare how much money she brings in for a specific

number of tries, to how much she should expect to pay out for that number of tries. Most

**students will determine the difference in expected payout and collected cost to pay by applying
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 20

them to the proportions of counters in the bag they created in the first part. Thus it is possible to

receive multiple responses to this part of the task, but developing understanding of expected

value is the goal. Students showing special comprehension will determine what the expected

value of each try of Gina’s game (Solution Method 3).

The students are then asked to make changes to the game in order to help Gina gain the

expectation of making money for her charity. Most students with proficiency in part/whole

relationships will be able to determine an equation to understand the expected value of the game,

as well as calculate the break-even point as well as recognize the importance of inequalities in

determining changes made to the game. During these final two question of the task, it is likely

that students who are have not mastered the understanding of the part/whole relationships, and

those who haven’t been successful with the task will guess a correct response, or use a guess and

check technique in order to arrive at a conclusion (Solution Method 1). Although many students

may guess the correct response to the second part of the task, it is imperative that their

explanation demonstrate an understanding of mathematical probability concepts in order to

successfully meet the standards addressed. The requirement of an explanation of the student’s

method and understanding will help determine levels of comprehension, thus leading to

opportunities to advance student knowledge with assistance and discussion.

5. Student Difficulties and Misconceptions

Students may encounter several difficulties during the task which may prevent them from

**correctly completing the task. In the first part of the task, students may struggle with
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 21

determining the correct probabilities of each color counter being selected from the bag. A minor

miscalculation of the probabilities in the first problem will lead to incorrect responses to the rest

of the task when the student may comprehend the concepts. Also, designing the number of each

counter in the bag may present some anxiety within students due to the lack of a definitive

correct solution. This may lead to students arbitrarily claiming any number of counters in the

bag without any mathematical concept behind the assertion. Estimating reasonable changes of

price to play and pay offs relative to each other, as well as understanding the cause and effect of

these changes may also pose difficulties for students. Without an acceptable value for the

number of counters in the bag related to the calculated probabilities, it is likely that students will

have difficulty determining why Gina is expected to lose money, as well as explanations of

methods for ensuring her profitability.

There is ample possibility of student misconception within the completion of this task.

According to Tools for Teachers (2016), students “knew that 1/2 of 1/2 is /1/4, but had difficulty

with other relationships,” as well as struggling with recognizing that the probabilities should add

up to one (p.58). Misunderstanding this might lead to the miscalculation of the probabilities of

drawing a Blue, Yellow, or White counter, and accordingly lead to misconceptions with the rest

of the task. Another misconception a student may encounter is comparing the relationship of the

part/whole of the probability to the establishing of a sample space by determining the number of

counters in the bag. If students struggle to relate the probabilities to the number of counters in

the sample space, then their understanding of expected value in the second part of the task will

be hindered. Misconceptions about expected value can lead to further difficulty with explaining

the outcome of and altering Gina’s game for profitability. Tools for Teachers (2016) suggests

**that students showed difficulty reasoning about expected values (p.58). Understanding the
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 22

concepts of expected value, pay offs, price to play, break-even points, and their relation to each

other is crucial to successful comprehension of the concepts applied in this task. If the student

has a misconception about how to determine whether or not Gina makes or loses money, then

expected value and reasoning using it will increase the student’s likelihood of non-success.

6. Reflection

Choosing a Probability task which can be classified as requiring high cognitive demand is an

invaluable exercise to the development of the understanding of not only how to teach, but also

practical application of teaching methods and goals. It is apparent that choosing a task carefully

in order to promote the development of ideas and concepts in a manner which requires

demanding thought processes is critical to engaging students. By using Smith and Stein’s (2011)

guide to choosing high-level demands tasks, we can decrease the amount of explicit instruction

on concepts in favor of helping students establish and expand upon their own mathematical

comprehension. It is also important to relate this choice in task to the standards addressed in

order to accomplish the goals desired by completing the task. By justifying these connections, as

well as the level of cognition required by the task, teachers can strengthen their promotion of

good mathematical practices as well as successfully apply the responsibility of providing

student’s with the highest level of guidance and instruction desirable.

By investigating different possible task solutions, teachers can prepare for multiple methods

students may use to successfully accomplish the goals of the high demand task. It is critical to

**attempt to complete the task in different manners in order to not only ensure the teacher’s
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 23

specialized knowledge and understanding of the tasks concepts, but also anticipate possible

difficulties students may encounter. Anticipating these difficulties can assist the teacher in

recognizing misconceptions students may have prior to beginning the task, which will in turn

help anticipate strategies which can be used to advance student understanding and learning.

Without this anticipation, the teacher will not be prepared for student misconceptions, and will

have to respond and redirect students on the fly, whereas if anticipation has occurred, then the

response and redirection will only occur on the fly if misconceptions arise which were not

expected. Therefore, it is vitally important to examine possible student approaches as well as

anticipate difficulties and misconceptions so that responses and adjustments to knowledge and

conceptual understanding can be made efficiently and productively while engaging in the task

and during class discussion.

Analyzing and selecting tasks is an invaluable process in planning lessons and developing

great teaching practices. Smith and Stein (2011) claim that our society desperately needs

“individuals who can think, reason, and engage effectively in quantitative problem solving,”

which begins with decisions educators make about the level of cognition and demand required to

develop concepts and comprehension (p.1). Ensuring that students are given equitable

opportunity to flourish and advance in the classroom is at the core of developing students and

future adults who are able to approach demanding problems or responsibilities with knowledge

**and experience at adapting and persevering with problem solving.
**

PROBABILITY TASK ANALYSIS 24

References

Georgia Department of Education. (2016). Mathematics Standards 6th-8th Grade. Mathematics

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) 6-8. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from

https://www.georgiastandards.org/Georgia-Standards/Documents/Grade-6-8-

Mathematics-Standards.pdf

Georgia Department of Education. (2016). High School Mathematics Standards. Mathematics

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) 9-12. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from

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