Stage 3 -number - chance


Students can:

  • solve simple chance problems
  • use practical activities to investigate possible outcomes and chance

Activities to support the strategy

1. Discuss sayings such as once in a blue moon, it’s raining cats and dogs, pigs might fly. *Will these events ever happen?

  • What are some events that have no chance of ever happening?
  • What are some events that are certain to occur?
  • What are some events that have a fifty-fifty chance of happening?

2. Students list some of the events discussed in the table.

3. Students brainstorm other ways that they can describe the chance of something happening. Encourage students to think of both words and numbers to describe chance.

4. Students measure a 1 metre length of tape. They label each end of the tape 0 and 1. They then divide the number line into tenths.

Students discuss and determine what chance words would equate with 0 and 1.

0 - would describe an event that is impossible

1 - Would describe an event that is certain

Provide students with the following chance words on cards - impossible, even chance, fifty-fifty, likely, unlikely, certain (Set 1). They place the chance words along the number line, to produce a scale of chance words from 0 to 1.

Students then report back on where they placed each of the chance cards.


  • Where did you place even chance?
  • What is meant by fifty-fifty?
  • Between which two chance words did you place likely? Unlikely?

Provide students with additional chance cards (Set 2). Students work in pairs and add these words to their chance scale. When the chance scales are complete, discuss:

  • Were any of the words hard to place?
  • Which ones?
  • Why?

5. Students in pairs, read these events and think about the chance of each event happening. Rate the likelihood of each event by writing a matching chance word then using a scale of 0 to 1.

View/print Likelihood of each event table (PDF 68.86KB)

Students think of other events to match any chance words that are not listed in the table.

6. Students play a game of Mini Lotto

Materials needed

  • ten table tennis balls
  • container for the balls

Students label ten table tennis balls with the numbers from 1 to 10. They select two numbers from 1 to 10 as their lotto entry. The teacher draws two balls at random. Students discuss their chances of winning using the language of chance - chance words or numbers.

Students design a mini lotto game that increases the chance of a certain number being drawn. They then discuss the chance of each number occurring
e.g. 4 has a fifty-fifty chance of being drawn because half the balls are numbered 4, but
2 has no chance of being drawn because none of the balls are numbered 2.


Australian curriculum

ACMSP144: Describe probabilities using fractions, decimals and percentages.

NSW syllabus

MA3-19SP: Conducts chance experiments and assigns probabilities as values between 0 and 1 to describe their outcomes.

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