What are the Chances?

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Objective

SWBAT apply principles of probability to make fair decisions

Big Idea

Is that random choice really random? This lesson explores the chances you'll be chosen by the flip of a coin, roll of a die or by drawing straws.

Set the Stage

5 minutes

This lesson reinforces prior knowledge and builds a foundation for the next lessons which focus on using probability to make fair or good decisions.  it takes students beyond Algebra I content as  they attend to precision by explaining and understanding what random selection truly means rather than just applying it as a process.  I begin this unit with a brief review of key terms and concepts for probability as discussed in my video.  Instead of just posting a bunch of terms, I challenge my students to post as many terms related to probability as they can on the front board. (MP6) This usually generates an interesting list which in turn generates some interesting discussion.  One of the terms that always seems to spark some of the most heated debate is "random", because students want random to fit their personal definition of fair.  That leads into today's lesson, which focuses on what "random" really means in mathematics.  Again, I don't just give my students that basic definition here; "Every subject/object has an equal chance of being selected".  I want them to see for themselves that an equal chance of being selected is not the same thing as "Every object selected an equal number of times."

40 minutes