Lesson Plan

Independent and Dependent Events: Probability

Evaluate what's happening to determine how to make an informed decision
Jennifer L.
Classroom teacher
Far Hills Country Day School
Far Hills, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Math

Students will be able to...

  • Evaluate the difference between an independent and dependent event
  • Calculate the probability of a compound, independent event
  • Calculate the probability of a compound, dependent event.
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook and Introduction

Activity: Exploring

As soon as students are in class, have all students stand up and give each a coin. Tell them, "You're going to play 'Tails never Fails.' In this game, if a student tosses and gets 'tails'; he/she stays in the game. Keep track of how many times you have tossed the coin before you have a winner.
In this coin-toss game, students begin to understand a compound event and the probability of getting n tosses in a row. They really get excited by the possiblity of someone getting tails more than a few times in a row.

For support, watch the video:https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-probability-odds

To follow up the game, indicate that now we're going to play "3."
Using a bag of popsicle sticks ( or bag with slips of paper, or a random number generator) with each students name on a stick, choose who gets to throw a die to try and get the number "3" (or pick your favorite number between 1-6). Don't replace the stick, and have the next student chosen try. Each time you choose a name, ask what the liklihood or probability of a the next student to be chosen, and follow up with why? Once several students have been chosen, ask how this is different than the coin toss game, or throwing the die.

Student Instructions
  • Everyone stand at your desk
  • Take a coin
  • "Tails never Fails." - Flip the coin and if you get tails you stay standing.



2 Formative Assessment: Independent vs. Dependent

Free, Paid

Use socrative to ask the difference between a set of independent vs. dependent events (T/F)


3 Mini-Lesson (Direct Instruction)

Activity: Investigating

Review the game and have students determine that in a compound, independent event, the probability is P(A) * P(B) occuring. for example, with the coin toss it is 1/2 * 1/2 for P(Heads) each toss.

Determine how a compound, dependent event differs.

P(A)* P(B after A)

4 Guided Cooperative Practice

Activity: Investigating

Students practice determining whether an event is independent or dependent, and apply the correct algorithm. This is done in dyads or small groups.

5 Wrap-Up

Free, Paid

Watch the Brain-Pop video on Independent and Dependent Events and take the quiz using Socrative or Formative to record results.  If you want to use a more robust option.  You can create an exit slip to determine exactly how much a student understands about using the algorithms of P(A)*P(B) vs. P(A )* P(B after A)