Math Investigations

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Chapter 4

Part 1: Home and School Investigation

Send the Letter to Family (PDF file) home with each child. Once all of the children have done the activity at home, ask them to talk about what happened. You might want to have two groups of colored socks on hand so you can demonstrate different ideas. Each group should have one color in it. For example, Group A has all black socks and Group B all white socks.

Part 2: Be an Investigator

A good time to do this investigation is after Lesson 7 on predicting outcomes.


  • one Investigator Worksheet (PDF file) for each pair
  • connecting cubes in two colors or two colors of construction paper squares
  • crayons
  • paper bags

Introducing the Investigation

Direct children to set up a bag of cubes and put ten cubes in the bag. Tell them to put at least one red cube and at least one blue cube in the bag. Another group is going to draw a counter out of the bag ten times, putting it back each time. While setting up their bags, prompt the children to think about which color they want most likely to be chosen and which color they want least likely to be chosen.

Present the Investigator Worksheet (PDF file) and tell children they can use this sheet to record what happens.

Doing the Investigation

When the children are finished, discuss the activity with them. Try to arrive at the idea that the best way to set up the bag is to put nine counters of the color you want most likely to be chosen in the bag and only one counter of the color that you want least likely to be chosen in the bag.

Extending the Investigation

Do the same activity but have children use three colors of counters.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 2