Higher or Lower?

This task can be used to revise and extend concepts of probability from GCSE. It uses a simple card game to provide a context for exploring some basic examples of conditional probability.

      The examples generated in the game can be represented and analysed using a variety of representations, including Tree Diagrams.

      This activity can be used as an introduction to some more advanced idea, including conditional probabilities expressed in the form p(A|B).

      A separate Excel spreadsheet contains a simple computerised model of the game, and is explained in later slides. Students will benefit from access to their own copies of the Excel file.

      In addition, you will need sets of regular playing cards (one pack for every eight students.)



Prior knowledge

Students will not need any specific prior knowledge beyond the probability calculations that should be familiar from GCSE mathematics.

Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

  • AQA
  • C&G
  • Eduqas
  • Pearson / Edexcel
  • OCR

Suggested approaches

Work through the PowerPoint presentation supplied, using the notes provided to lead whole-class and individual questioning and discussion. The activities throughout this task are suitable for paired work.


The supplied PowerPoint presentation includes extensive notes that address the key teaching points for an introductory lesson on this topic.

Relevant digital technologies

The supplied Excel spreadsheet provides a complete computer model of the game.

Possible extensions

Students could be encouraged to build their own computerised models for this or similar games.

  • Lorraine Marsland Mar 21, 2017

    There is a very good game very similar to this that shows changing probabilities at each stage at http://www.mathsisfun.com/games/higher-or-lower.html