\input zb-basic \input zb-matheduc \iteman{ZMATH 2011c.00770} \itemau{Abrahamson, Dor; Janusz, Ruth M.; Wilensky, Uri} \itemti{There once was a 9-block $\dots$ -- A middle-school design for probability and statistics.} \itemso{J. Stat. Educ. 14, No. 1 (2006).} \itemab Summary: ProbLab is a probability-and-statistics unit developed at the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University. Students analyze the combinatorial space of the 9-block, a 3-by-3 grid of squares, in which each square can be either green or blue. All 512 possible 9-blocks are constructed and assembled in a "bar chart" poster according to the number of green squares in each, resulting in a narrow and very tall display. This combinations tower is the same shape as the normal distribution received when 9-blocks are generated randomly in computer-based simulated probability experiments. The resemblance between the display and the distribution is key to student insight into relations between theoretical and empirical probability and between determinism and randomness. The 9-block also functions as a sampling format in a computer-based statistics activity, where students sample from a "population" of squares and then input and pool their guesses as to the greenness of the population. We report on an implementation of the design in two Grade 6 classrooms, focusing on student inventions and learning as well as emergent classroom socio-mathematical behaviors in the combinations-tower activity. We propose an application of the 9-block framework that affords insight into the Central Limit Theorem in science. (Contains 14 figures.) (ERIC) \itemrv{~} \itemcc{K63 U53 D43} \itemut{college school cooperation; grade 6; scientific concepts; middle school students; statistics; mathematical concepts; probability; units of study; learning activities; computer simulation; computer assisted instruction} \itemli{} \end