Chances Are: OH NO! Look Out Below for a UFO

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In this math lesson (on Page 13), learners predict and simulate the likelihood of an event occurring. Using an inflatable globe of the earth, learners simulate where a UFO would impact with the surface of the Earth. Will the UFO hit land or water? Learners are encouraged to make predictions based on prior knowledge of the earth's geographical features. Learners toss the globe one hundred times and catch it with open hands. The position of their right index finger represents the landing location of a UFO. Learners then use the data that they've collected to evaluate and make predictions on where a UFO will impact the earth. This lesson can easily be integrated with a language arts unit on mysteries. Ideas for explorations of probability at centers are also included. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
      • Probability
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
      • Fractions

Informal Categories

  • Literature
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education