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Probability Games

April 15, 2015

I’m teaching probability to year 7 for a couple of weeks. It’s obviously a perfect opportunity for some practical activities that are actually beneficial.

So, I’ve started with the classic horse-race game. The numbers 1 to 12 are listed next to horses and then each student secretly backs a horse. Two dice are rolled (students taking turns) and that numbered horse moves forward a space. First horse past the finish line wins and then you obviously have a discussion about the best number to pick. This usually leads into a two-way table for me and shows the relations we’re familiar with but students usually aren’t (ie 7 is most likely).

However, this year, one student was ahead of us all as he plays Shut the Box a lot at home so he knew this sort of thing and was able to talk in depth about why the different numbers weren’t equally likely.

After searching for some follow up lessons, I came across this site. It’s worth checking out the great cookie race as an interesting variation on the standard probability questions/activities.

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