We are in our third year of teaching Probability using the Eureka Math program and I still have a bad case of PTSD when it comes to simulations, the final topic in probability. I have clear memories of the first time my colleague, Irene Witt, and I read through the Eureka materials. And of the first (and second) time we attempted to teach the content. And of how overwhelming and random it all felt, both to us and to our students.
Although simulations are still a challenge for me to teach and understand, I know that we have made progress in our practice, as measured by student performance on assessments, and much of that progress can be traced to our use of the simulations “template” (or teacher-created graphic organizer) that we wrote for the students. We developed the five-part structure of the template directly from the teacher guide for Eureka:
(taken from Eureka Math, A Story of Ratios, 2015, page 101)
Each of those steps in the simulation became a step in the template:
Due to the complex nature of this topic, this template is a bit more prescriptive/informative than some of our other templates (see my blog post on The Power of Templates), but it still provides flexibility for students to use it with any simulation problem presented in Eureka. The process we used to create this template can be used with other content as well, where the template provides a sort of “teacher voice” through its structure that then supports students in attempting a variety of problems without direct teacher guidance every step of the way.