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Pre-AP: Strategies in Mathematics—Chance, Variation & Probability

Expand your math teaching skills, techniques and knowledge in this workshop

Teachers learn classroom activities that enable students to analyze and understand chance events. The workshop progresses from elementary concepts of probability and culminates in the use of simulation to model probability problems.

Participants learn how to find and correct student misinterpretations and discover ways to improve understanding through reflection and communication. Special emphasis is placed on making the lessons relevant to students' everyday lives. Topics include:

  • Classical probability
  • Law of large numbers
  • Probability rules
  • Distributions
  • Conditions

The workshop conforms to the College Board's mission, particularly in promoting access and equity; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards; and to AP Calculus AB and Calculus BC topic outlines.


  • Understand AP mathematics standards and the role of Pre-AP in developing them
  • Gain a better understanding of expected outcomes and probability distributions
  • Learn what students need for mastering AP Calculus AB and Calculus BC
  • Appreciate issues and strategies critical to AP Vertical Teams in Mathematics


Basic Terminology
Classical Probability
The Law of Large Numbers
Probability Rules
Probability Distributions
Conditional Probability

Workshop author

Chris Olsen has been teaching mathematics and statistics at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for more than 25 years. He is also the mathematics assessment facilitator for his district. Mr. Olsen served on the AP Statistics Development Committee and is the author of the new AP Statistics Teacher's Guide. He is a coauthor of Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis with Roxy Peck and Jay Devore. Mr. Olsen spends most of his reading time in the areas of history, philosophy, math, and statistics. He has spent much seat time at the National Archives researching espionage in the Civil War, much foot time tramping around the mountains of Colorado, and not nearly enough time working in the yard.