Probably Pistachio


This is an activity based on the picture book Probably Pistachio

Achievement Objectives
S1-3: Investigate situations that involve elements of chance, acknowledging and anticipating possible outcomes.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  1. Students will be able to relate probability vocabulary to possible outcomes.
  2. Students will be able to create situations that demonstrate an understanding of chance.
Description of Mathematics
  1. The words used to describe the chance of an outcome relate to the ratio of one possible outcome to another.
Required Resource Materials
Items to create sets (eg. buttons, counters, shells, stones, marbles)

Copymaster: Probability vocabulary cards

Probably Pistachio by Stuart J. Murphy

Various sized clear jars


Take a Chance!
This activity is based on the picture book Probably Pistachio

Author: Stuart J. Murphy
Illustrator: Marsha Winborn
Publisher: Harper Collins (2001)
ISBN: 0-06-446734-1

The vocabulary of possible outcomes is explored through a story of one boy’s day when everything goes wrong. As the day unfolds Jack tries to predict what will happen based on experience and chance. The pictograms that represent his thinking are valuable representations of how we use experience and knowledge to make predictions.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to reading, demonstrate the idea of possible outcomes by placing several items in a clear container or plastic bag. (The items should all be the same size and shape but different colours such as unifix blocks or counters). Cover the jar or bag and ask students to make a prediction about what chance they have of pulling out a particular colour based on what they know about the colours you put in. Ask a student to select an item without looking and check the prediction.
    For example, put in 6 red blocks and ask:
    What chance do you have of getting a green one?
    Or put in 5 red and 1 blue and ask:
    What will I probably get when I pick out one?
    Encourage the use of key vocabulary words you will be looking for during the activity.
  2. Share the book with your students, emphasizing the vocabulary. You may want to create a word bank as you read. As you get to the pages where Jack’s thinking is shown in bubbles, ask students to pair share and make predictions about what the outcome will be on the next page.
  3. Make a large copy of the vocabulary cards (copymaster) and discuss each word and colour in the agreed amount of the strip beside the word so everyone has a shared understanding of the visual cue. Cut the strips apart and give each pair of students one key word strip. For example:
  4. Then ask students to use the containers/jars and the sets of items (counters, blocks, buttons etc) to create a jar that shows the chance word they have. Get them to test their chance jar with another pair.
  5. To follow on from this lesson students can continue to explore the vocabulary and the chance jars by trying other words and discussing which ones are “sure things” and which ones are easier or harder to predict. There are also several follow up activities suggested at the back of the book in notes provided for adults.

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