Ideas for teaching high school and middle school math. Innovative approaches that address the changing ways that today's student learns material.
 
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Probability is one of the most interesting topics to teach but it also can be controversial. A number of the hands-on activities associated with probability are 'games of chance' (aka casino games/gambling) and have to be presented in a different way. 

A favorite in the probability world is calculating the chance of rolling a certain sum with 2 dice (or number cubes- the PC way to say dice). I have always use the game Beano for this purpose but while enjoying Friends one evening Monica and Chandler provided another illustration while playing craps in Vegas. Now, I would never use this example unless my audience was out-of-high school since it involves gambling and deciding to get married based on the sum of two dice. But is does provide an opportunity to discuss what is the probability that Monica rolls a sum of 8 (5/36) or a 'hard' 8 (rolling 2 fours- 1/36). 

The clip from the episode is below. Enjoy. And in the words of Monica Geller, "It just got interesting." 

 


Comments

02/08/2014 20:28

I agree that probability can be a touchy topic to teach due to associated activities. I followed your link to see more about the game of Beano and I loved it. It engages the students in a hands on approach. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

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Natalie Turbiville
02/14/2014 12:24

Glad you found it useful!

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Brittany Juraszek
02/17/2014 11:22

I used the beano game in my college stats class today, and they LOVED it! (Winners received bonus points, which is always exciting for students.) It was very interesting to see how their distributions changed through three different games, especially after we completed the table and bar chart. Thank you!

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Natalie Turbiville
02/20/2014 06:55

Love to see it is a hit with college students as well. Bonus points do always add excitement-no matter what age!

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03/10/2014 14:24

I do agree that probability can be some what of a controversial subject. Like you said probability is a game of chance. I do think that this episode of Monica and Chandler in vegas is a great real world example of just that. I also have to agree with you on the choice of audience. They are betting on whether they should get married or not meanwhile Ross and Rachel are getting so intoxicated they get married and don't even remember doing so.

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Ideas for teaching high school and middle school math. Innovative approaches that address the changing ways that today's student learns material.