Thursday, November 7, 2013

math fun with probability

Technically Thursdays are our unschool days (I am breaking all the rules this week!) but I figured we could squeeze a bit of work-play into the morning by taking a closer look at probability=how likely it is that an even will occur. 

While cleaning out the books and stuff we don't use or need I found quite a few games relating to probabilities.
Here are the 3 we liked best:

Heads or Tails 
Toss a coin 10 times keeping track of the number of times it turns up heads or tails.  Then analyze your results.  
How many times did you toss the coin? How many times was it heads?  How many times was it tails?
Probability written as ratio # of times you got heads in # of total times you tossed the coin.  The probability you would expect is 5 in 10.  If you did not get this result enlarge your sample by tossing the coin 10 more times. Keep going eventually the ratio will hit a 50% heads and 50% tails.

 A Roll of the Dice
Take a dice marked 1-6 and roll it 60 times keeping track how many times it lands on each number.  The probability you are looking for is 10 times for each number.  Again if your ratio does not match increase your sampling size.  Amazing how this works!


Heads and Tails
Played much like Heads or Tails but in this game you flip the dice twice for each turn keeping track of the pattern.

Heads-Tails
Tails-Heads
Heads-Heads
Tails-Tails

Record the data from 50 rounds (100 flips in all, yes it seems like a lot but it goes fast). The Probability you are looking for is about 12 in 60 for each pair.


Scholastic Explains Math Homework also had some fun ideas for teaching probability with colored crayons, spinners, and other ideas with coins, and even socks! 


A great link for playing probability math game on line is Math Goodies.
And of course any game involving chance is a fun way to apply and play around with probability! 


We love math! 

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