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Probability using words

Describe probability using words

Key words

event probability scale random

You can describe the probability or (chance) of an event happening in words. This probability scale shows some of them.
0 impossible even 1 certain

A random event is one that cant be predicted. Throwing a dice is one way of producing random numbers.

Example 1

Jack chooses a counter at random from this jar. Draw a probability scale showing the approximate chance of each colour being chosen.
1 blue

0 green red

Example 2

a) Colour this spinner so it is less likely that it will land on blue than yellow. b) Colour this spinner so there is an equal chance of landing on green and yellow but it is most likely to land on blue.



Exercise 3.1
Here is the net of a dice. a) Which number is most likely to be thrown? b) Which number is least likely to be thrown? c) Which number has an even chance of being thrown? d) It is impossible to throw some numbers between 1 and 6 using this dice. Which ones are they?


Maths Connect 2G

50 raffle tickets are sold, numbered from 1 to 50. A ticket is chosen at random, so each has the same chance of being chosen. Match each event to the chance of it being chosen. One has already been done for you. A B C D E The number 16 The number 75 An odd number A number less than 51 A number bigger than 10 1 2 3 4 5 certain likely impossible unlikely even E2 (It is likely that a number bigger than 10 will be chosen.)

A counter is chosen at random from each jar. Draw a probability scale for each jar to show the approximate chance of a yellow, blue, red and green counter being chosen. Use Example 1 to help you.



You need blue, green and red colouring pencils. Copy this spinner twice. a) Colour the spinner so it is impossible for it to land on blue and more likely to land on green than red. b) Colour the spinner so it is most likely to land on blue but green and red have an equal chance as each other. Here are the nets of three different dice.

Dice 1

Dice 2

Dice 3

Which dice would you choose so: a) there is an equal chance of throwing an odd or even number b) it is certain to throw a number less than 5 c) there is an equal chance of throwing a 5 or 6 d) it is impossible to throw a 3?

There are two answers to this question.

Eliza says that she will either meet a zebra on her way to school or she will not, so there is an even chance of meeting a zebra. Is Eliza right? Explain your answer.

Think of an event which is: a) impossible b) certain c) has an even chance of happening d) has a chance between even and certain of happening e) has a chance between impossible and even of happening. 0 Place each of your events on the probability scale. impossible

1 even certain

Probability using words 27


Probability using numbers

Describe probability using fractions, decimals and percentages

Key words

random theoretical

A probability can be written as a fraction or decimal. This value must be from 0 to 1. A probability can also be written as a percentage. A random choice is one that cant be predicted. The theoretical probability of choosing a red counter at random is 2. This is because 5 there are two red counters out of a total of five, and they each have the same chance of being chosen.
2 5


40%, so the probability can also be written as 0.4 or 40%.

This probability should not be written as 2 in 5 chance, 2 : 5 or 2 out of 5.


A bag contains ten Scrabble tiles:

A tile is taken out at random. Find the probability that the letter is a: a) t b) o c) u d) a vowel e) i f) t, o or u Give each answer as a fraction, decimal and percentage. Draw a probability scale for each of these events.
a) b) c) d) f)
0 i o u vowel
6 10 1 10 3 10 4 10

0.6 0.1 0.3 0.4 1

60% 10% 30% 40% 100%

5 10 t 1 t, u or o

e) 0
10 10

Exercise 3.2
Sam has ten pens in his pencil case. Three are blue, two are red and five are black. He takes a pen out at random. What is the probability that the pen is: a) black d) green b) blue e) black, blue or red? c) red Use the Example to help you.

f) Draw a probability scale showing each of these events.


Maths Connect 2G

A dice is made from this net. The dice is then thrown. a) What is the probability that the dice shows: i) 4 ii) 3 iii) 1 or 4 iv) an even number v) 6 vi) 1, 3 or 4? b) Copy and complete the probability scale to show your answers.
0 3 6 1

In a class there are 14 boys and 11 girls. The teacher chooses a pupil at random to hand out the exercise books. What is the probability that the teacher chooses a boy? A school sells 100 raffle tickets. Tickets numbered from 1 to 60 are blue and from 61 to 100 are red. A ticket is drawn at random. What is the probability that this ticket is: a) blue b) red c) an even number d) a number that ends in zero e) the number 23 f) blue and a number greater than 60. Draw a spinner that could be described by this probability scale.
0 0.25 green red 0.5 blue 0.75 1

Ruby has 4 sweets in a bag. She always chooses a sweet without looking. The probability of her choosing a mint is 1. Ruby eats one of 2 the mint sweets. What is the probability that the next sweet she chooses at random is also a mint?

You could use four counters to help.

Mrs Smith has five keys in her bag. She chooses a key at random. a) What is the probability that she chooses the key that she needs? b) The key Mrs Smith chooses does not open her door. What is the probability that the next key she chooses opens her door if: i) she puts the key she has already used back in her bag first ii) she does not put the key she has already used back in her bag. You can try this out using five different coloured counters. You could use two Mrs Smith also has a pair of red gloves and a pair of blue gloves in red and two blue her bag. counters to help. a) What is the probability that the first glove she chooses at random is blue? b) What is the greatest number of gloves she needs to take out from her bag to give a pair of the same colour?

Use the idea from Q5 to draw three different spinners and their probability scales. Use fractions rather than decimals for your probability scale.

Probability using numbers 29


Possible outcomes
Record outcomes using diagrams and tables

Key words

outcome event sample space diagram

You can show possible outcomes of an event using a table or a sample space diagram . For example, for the event tossing a coin, the outcome is either a tail or a head.

Example 1

Find all possible outcomes when two coins are tossed.

Coin 1 Coin 2 Head Tail

Head Head, head Head, tail

Tail Tail, head Tail, tail

There are four possible outcomes.

Example 2

Ali, Ben and Colin go to the fair. Only two of the boys can go on a ride at the same time. a) What are all the possible outcomes? b) What is the probability that Ali and Colin go on the ride together?

a) Ali and Ben; Ali and Colin; Ben and Colin. b)

1 3

There are three possible outcomes and only one of them is Ali and Colin.

Exercise 3.3
A shop sells chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream. Sangheeta would like to try two different flavours. What combinations could she have? Another shop sells ice creams and a choice of topping. a) Mark wants one flavour of ice cream with a topping. What are his choices? b) Louise wants two different flavours of ice cream and a topping. What are her choices? Ice cream Mint Vanilla Banana Topping Sauce or Flake

Copy and complete the table to show all the possible outcomes when a dice is thrown and a coin is spun.
Dice Coin Head Tail 1 1, head 2 3 4 5 6

What is the probability of getting 4, tail?


Maths Connect 2G

Luke has number cards 1, 3, 5. Adam has number cards 2, 4, 6. They each choose a card at random and add the two numbers together. Copy and complete the table to show all of the possible outcomes. a) Use your table to find the probability that the total will be: i) 5 ii) less than 6 iii) greater than 6 iv) an even number. b) Complete the table to show all of the possible outcomes if the numbers are multiplied together. Use your table to find the probability that the total will be: i) 5 ii) less than 6 iii) greater than 6 iv) an even number. Are your answers the same for each table?

1 2 4 6 3

1 2 4 6 2

Is the probability of an even total the same as the probability of an odd total? Explain your answer.

Matt has the number cards 4, 5 and 6. 64 is an example of a 2-digit number. a) Which 2-digit numbers can he make? b) What is the probability that a 2-digit number chosen at random is: i) even ii) less than 50 iii) not less than 50 iv) divisible by 5?

Copy and complete these two tables showing the outcomes when two dice are thrown. a) Fill in the boxes by adding the numbers on the dice.
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2 2 3 3 4 5 6

b) Fill in the boxes by subtracting the smallest number from the largest.
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 4 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

You will need these results in your next lesson.

Possible outcomes 31


Pran spins these two spinners. He adds together the numbers that each spinner lands on. Draw a table to show all of the different possible totals.


Tallies and frequency tables

Collect data from a simple experiment and record it in a frequency table

Key words

tally frequency

A frequency table is a way of sorting data into groups. It is often quicker and easier to record data using a frequency table.


Eric asks some pupils in his school how many pieces of homework they got yesterday. 0 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 3 4 1 1 0 2 1 2 0 1 2

Draw a tally and frequency table for this information.

Number of pieces of homework Tally Frequency

0 3

1 13

2 5

3 2

4 1

Remember that tally marks are grouped in 5s.

Exercise 3.4
A coach stops at a caf. Here is the passengers order: a) How many adults ordered Orange juice? b) How many Coffees were ordered? c) How many more adults than children chose water? d) How many drinks were ordered in total?
Drink Tea Coffee Adult Child //// //// / /// //// //// // //// //

Orange //// Juice Water

//// //// ///

Mike asks pupils in his form group which lesson is their favourite. science English P.E. P.E. maths science maths English maths English science P.E. science P.E. English P.E. English P.E.

a) Draw a tally and frequency table for his information. b) Which lesson is the most popular?


Maths Connect 2G

Three pupils record in different ways the types of vehicle that pass their school.


b c l c b

Matt bus car lorry bike / // / /

bus car lorry car bike

a) What problem may Sue have when she does her traffic survey? b) What problem may Christine have when she does her traffic survey? c) Why is Matts way the best to record this information? This activity requires a coin. Sam throws two coins 60 times recording the number of tails shown for each throw. Copy the table then carry out Sams experiment, recording the results in your table.
Number of tails Tally Frequency 0 1 2

I will get about 20 no tails, about 20 1 tail and about 20 2 tails.

Is Sam correct? Explain your answer.

Requires childrens building blocks. Ben thinks that if a building block is thrown, it will not land on each face with the same frequency. Carry out an experiment with different sizes of building block to test his hypothesis. Use a table with these headings to record your results:
Size of face Small Medium Large

Use your results to decide if Ben is correct. Use the results from your investigation in your last maths lesson. Make a tally chart for each number in the two tables.
0 Adding the numbers Subtracting the numbers Total frequency Tally Frequency Tally Frequency 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Rhys says the number 4 has the highest probability of being a result. Use your completed table to say whether Rhys is right or wrong.

Tallies and frequency tables 33


Estimating probability
Estimate probability from experiments.

Key words


When we carry out an experiment we can use the results to find the estimated probability of each outcome. For example, if a coin is thrown 10 times and 6 tails are recorded, the estimated probability of the coin landing on tails is 160 or 0.6.

Example 1

A sweet machine dispenses fruit lollipops. The fruit is randomly selected by the machine. Di records the frequency of each fruit.
Fruit Frequency Orange 2 Cherry 4 Lemon 8 Strawberry 6

a) What is the estimated probability of each fruit? b) Which fruit is the machine most likely to select next?
a) Fruit Frequency Estimated probability b) Lemon Orange 2
2 20

Cherry 4

Lemon 8

Strawberry 6





4 20


8 20


6 20

Example 2

Ellen plays lucky dip at the fair. Each go costs 10p, and she has a chance of winning 10p, winning 20p, or losing.
Win 10p Frequency Estimated probability 5 Win 20p 1 Lose 4

a) Copy and complete the table showing the estimated probabilities of winning and losing. b) How much did Ellen spend on the lucky dip? c) How much did Ellen win? d) How much in total did Ellen lose playing the game?
a) Frequency Estimated probability b) Ellen spent 10 10p 1 c) Ellen won 5 10p 1 20p d) Ellen lost 1 70p 30p Win 10p 5
5 10 1 2

Win 20p 1
1 10

Lose 4
4 10 2 5





Maths Connect 2G

Exercise 3.5
Three dice are thrown.
Number of dice showing the same outcome Frequency Estimated probability 3 2 2 20 0 28

a) How many times were the three dice thrown? b) Copy and complete the table showing the estimated probabilities. Ten counters are placed in a bag. Bindi chooses a counter at random, notes the colour then puts the counter back. She repeats this 20 times.
Colour of counter Frequency Estimated probability Blue 11 Red 6 Yellow 3

a) Copy and complete the table to find the estimated probability of choosing each colour. b) How many of each colour of counter are likely Remember that there are 10 counters. to be in the bag? There are two likely answers. Dan plays a game at a school fair. Here is what he won and lost.
Outcome Frequency Estimated probability Win 20p 3 Win 50p 1 Lose 6

Use Example 2 to help.

a) b) c) d) e)

How many times did Dan play the game? Copy and complete the table for the estimated probabilities. It costs 10p to play each time. How much did Dan spend? How much money did Dan win? Did Dan lose or win money overall? How much?

This question requires a dice. Copy this table:

Number of throws Tally Frequency Estimated probability 1 2 3 4 5 6

If you throw 2, 2, 5 it has taken you 3 throws to total 6 or more, so you would put a tally mark in the 3 column.

Throw the dice, adding up the numbers thrown until you reach a total of 6 or more. Record in a table the number of throws needed to get this total. Repeat this experiment 50 times. Complete the table by finding the estimated probabilities for each number of throws. Write each answer as a fraction and a decimal. For example, if it took you 3 throws only once out of the 50 tries, the estimated probability would be 510 or 0.02.

Estimating probability 35


Comparing probability
Compare theoretical and experimental probabilities

Key words

biased theoretical experimental

If you toss a fair coin, there is an equal chance of getting a head or a tail. But if the coin was biased (or unfair), there would be a greater chance of either heads or tails. We know that the probability of throwing a 2 on a fair dice is 1. This is the theoretical 6 probability. When we actually throw the dice a number of times we can use our results to calculate the experimental probability. We do not expect the values for the theoretical and experimental probabilities to always be the same.


Caitlin throws two coins and counts the number of tails showing for each throw. a) Find the theoretical probability for each outcome. b) Caitlin throws the two coins 100 times. Here are her results:
Number of tails Frequency 0 23 1 49 2 28

Find the experimental probability for each outcome. c) Compare the theoretical and estimated probabilities, to find out if the coin is fair.
a) Number of tails Outcome Theoretical probability 2 tails is 128 . 00 c)
25 10 0 1 1 is the same as 4, and 150 is the same as 2, so the experimental 00

0 head, head
1 4

1 head, tail tail, head

1 4 1 4 1 2

2 tail, tail
1 4

b) Experimental probability of 0 tails is 123 , of 1 tail is 149 and of 00 00

There are four outcomes.

and theoretical probabilities are quite close. The coin is fair.

Exercise 3.6
Jane puts 20 counters in a bag: 10 blue, 6 red and 4 orange. She chooses a counter at random, records its colour and returns it to the bag. She does this 20 times. Here are her results:
Blue Experimental probability
9 20

6 20

5 20

a) What are the theoretical probabilities for each colour? b) Jane says that she must have done the experiment wrong as the results for the theoretical probabilities are not the same as the experimental ones. Is Jane correct? Explain your answer.


Maths Connect 2G

Activity for two players. Requires counters and a bag. Pupil A chooses 10 counters of a mixture of blue and red colours and places them in a bag, without Pupil B seeing them. Pupil B takes a counter from the bag, notes the colour and replaces it. Repeat this 10 times, then estimate the number of each colour. Next, repeat the experiment a total of 30 times, then 50 times. You can record your results in a table.
Number of counters taken from bag Number of red counters chosen Estimated probability Number of blue counters chosen Estimated probability 10 30 50

Empty the bag to see how many counters of each colour there are. Calculate the theoretical probabilities then compare the theoretical probabilities with the experimental probabilities for 50 repeats of the experiment. Write a sentence about your results. Requires square card and a cocktail stick. Colour your spinner like the one shown but when you have made the spinner, do not place the cocktail stick in the centre of your spinner, so it is biased or not fair. Spin your spinner 40 times, recording the colour it lands on. Copy and complete the table. Calculate the probability of the spinner landing on each colour if it was not biased.
Colour Tally Frequency Estimated probability Probability of landing on colour if not biased Red Blue White Yellow

Requires random number tables or a random function on a calculator. Charlie says that a number chosen at random has the same probability of being odd or even.
Odd Tally Frequency Experimental probability Theoretical probability Even

0 is an even number for this activity.

Use the random number table or the random function on a calculator to simulate 40 odd or even numbers, by recording if the last digit is odd or even. For example the number 0.3072 would be recorded as even as it ends with a 2. a) How many numbers out of 40 would you expect to be odd if Charlie is correct? b) Copy and complete the table showing each type of probability.

Comparing probability 37