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Junior Cert. Specification ›› Junior Cert Syllabus 1.1

Prior Knowledge

The primary school mathematics curriculum identifies the following learning related to counting:

Approaching the Teaching & Learning

Since students should have significant experience of listing the outcomes of some simple random processes, this lesson should be used to revise this and extend student learning. It is important to identify the advantages and limitations of the various approaches to counting. It is important that the teacher keeps an eye on the long term goals of probability – that is the ability to estimate the likelihood of an event based on the following formula:

P(event)=No of ways event can happen / Total No. of outcomes

Students may be introduced to the fundamental principle of counting using sample spaces that they have already encountered. With appropriate scaffolding many students should be able to recognise the relationship between the number of outcomes for an experiment and the number of outcomes in each trial. Again the link between the fundamental principle of counting and calculating the probability of an event should be made explicit to students.


Animated PowerPoint file demonstrating the fundamental principle of counting.

Student worksheet on applying the fundamental principle of counting.