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Week 3 introduction

In this video, David Spiegelhalter and Jenny Gage introduce week 3 of the course 'Teaching Probability'.
Hello, and welcome to the third and final week of Teaching Probability. We’re changing our emphasis a little this week. Our focus is going to be squarely on preparing students for examinations. We’ve had two groups of teachers in mind when designing this lesson. First, we’ve made sure that there is plenty for less experienced teachers. If the teaching of probability at examination level is new to you, you can treat this week’s material as a primer in teaching a wide variety of examination topics in probability. For more experienced teachers, we hope that we have something new to say about some topics that will be familiar. Teachers are often under a huge amount of pressure to get students through examinations.
Often with little time to teach at the depth we would like. This week’s lessons will look at a range of examination-style questions and suggest approaches that can have the best possible impact on learning while making sure that students actually understand what they are doing, rather than just learning the rules. There may be more than one way to answer the question, and that expected frequency approach may be clearer. But each method should lead to the same answer. We will see how very abstract questions can be represented using expected frequency trees to bring some clarity. When we see terms such as ‘mutually exclusive’ we think of multiple branches leading from a point.
When we see ‘independent’ or ‘dependent’ events we think sequence of branches. You may find it useful to reflect on your teaching of examination topics in probability. What do students find difficult? And why? Use the comments to let us know.
In the first two weeks of this course on teaching probability, we have introduced teaching approaches and methods that we have used successfully in a wide variety of schools.

Our emphasis in this third week changes a little. We are going to review a range of topics in probability that feature in most high school curricula. This week’s material should meet a range of needs:

  • For new or inexperienced teachers, this week’s lesson could be used as a primer in the key content for examination classes.
  • For more experienced teachers, there will be plenty of opportunity to reflect on what students find difficult, and why.

Whatever your level of experience and expertise, we hope that you will reflect on how the teaching approaches that we advocated in the first two weeks of the course will help to prepare students for the material we are covering this week.

We will be covering a wide range of topics this week, and we will not necessarily have the time to analyse every topic in exhaustively. You can of course use the comments section for any step to discuss that particular topic in more detail.

Are there any specific topics in probability that you are looking forward to considering?

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Teaching Probability

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