My Favourite Resources: Probability

The next in my series of posts about my top resources and ideas for teaching by topic.  This week, Probability.


Derren Brown 

I blogged here about using the Derren Brown “trick” of flipping 10 heads in a row in lesson

Always, Sometimes, Never

This great resource from the Improving Learning in Maths folder is great to use at the start of a module of learning, get pupils to classify the cards and justify their choices in writing on a poster.  I then keep pulling out the posters after key bits of learning and get the pupils to draw arrows on their posters for any they want to re-classify based on what they’ve learnt that day, justifying the movement in a different colour.  The posters end up pretty messy by the end but I like the message of continual improvement and learning that it gives the pupils.

Non-Transitive Dice

I’ve recently discovered Don Steward’s MEDIAN blog and I particularly like his resource “Quirky Dice” for using non-transitive dice to teach Sample Space diagrams.  You can buy sets of the dice from the MathsGear website (sets of 3, 5 or 10 dice and special bulk school offers)

Monty Hall

An old lesson favourite for most Maths educators I think.  I particularly like this online simulation and this video clip of Marcus du Sautoy and Alan Davies

Birthday Paradox

Love the counter-intuitive wow factor of doing this in class.  Lovely Numberphile video here and a BBC News article, quite topically about the 2014 World Cup teams from Alex Bellos


The Nrich problem “Mathsland National Lottery” is a good introduction for classes and this Numberphile video explains it well.  I like to then get classes to work out the chances of winning the various other Lotto games

Zener Cards

I’m guilty of using the “make a dice out of kitchen foil and test if it’s fair” lesson with Key Stage 3 classes but by Key Stage 4 I want something different so I love using these to teach experimental probability.  There’s an interactive resource, lesson plan and cards for printing so that pupils can carry out their own mind-reading experiment here

Experimental Probability Rich Task
Love this Which Spinners? activity from NRIch which has pupils working backwards from relative frequencies to decide which spinners gave the results.
Hunger Games

A recent find so untested in the classroom but I like the idea of structuring a Probability unit around the Hunger Games theme.  American resources (so may need adapting to fit UK spellings and vocab) here

Additional Maths Problems

Although we never taught AQA’s Additional Maths Spec I still use the resources a lot in lessons as plenaries or starter tasks.  This file contains 2 great probability questions; the first suitable for Key Stage 3 or either tier at GCSE, the second for Higher GCSE

Benford’s Law

Nice to do as an investigation with Key Stage 3 and 4 students although the Maths behind it is more suited to Key Stage 5 Mathematicians – explanation from Steve Mould in this video

If you’re teaching the A-level Stats modules to competent Mathematicians, there’s a nice NRich problem about Scale Invariance.


If you have any gems that I’ve missed, please share them in the comments.





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