Activities in Probability
|Rock, Paper, Scissors - The Study of Chance|
Background: During the 1500’s Cardano was one of the first people to study probability (probably because he was a noted gambler). In the 1600’s Fermat in his correspondence with Pascal develop the theory of probability. Pascal also worked on the concept of mathematical expectation and there is a distribution in probability named after him. In the 1700’s DeMoivre published the Doctrine of Chances, which contained a series of solved problems, such as: “Suppose that three tickets will be given prizes in a lottery having 40,000 tickets. What is the chance of winning at least one prize if you buy 8000 of those tickets?”
Students often hear and occasionally use statements of probability in their daily lives. They note the weather forecasts when they wonder whether a game will be held or school canceled. They also use more ambiguous general phrases such as not likely, no way, and probably but, as with much of everyday speech, there are many misuses of probability terminology and concepts.
Purpose: To introduce and develop the concept of probability.
Materials: Sack; marbles of two different colors - 100 of one color (blue), 25 of another color (green).
The probability of drawing a blue marble is four times greater than drawing a green one.
|Contributed by Chuck Hammond|
The purpose of this activity is to introduce basic information on probability and statistics. It can be used as an introduction to a unit on probability. It should be followed up with a discussion about how probability is used in the real world. This activity can be made as simple or as complex as necessary depending on grade level.
Divide the class into pairs and have them play the game eighteen times. A rock is a closed fist. Paper is palm on palm, and scissors is the number two horizontally. The student hits their other hand twice, and on the third time gives the symbol they wish. A rock beats scissors. Paper beats rocks, and scissors beats paper. Instruct the students to keep a record of wins and losses.
Once the class has finished, record the results for player A is one color, and player B in another color. Then, the students can figure mean, mode, and range each set of data.
Now draw a tree diagram to show all possible outcomes.
Answer the following questions to determine if the game is fair.
John Graunt (1620-1674) created the London Life Table. He found 100 people and charted the number of survivors after 0 years, 6 years, and so on. It is very interesting to see that after only 6 years, 36 people had already died.
|Contributed by Amy Troutman|