As the students enter the classroom, I post pre-determined student groupings on the projector screen. The manner in which I group the students is not significant to me in this particular lesson, and I just want to have the groups pre-made so that I can jump right in. It is always a good idea to have the discussion with your students that any time they work in groups, they should be professional about their excitement or in some cases disappointment. My students work in groups often enough that they are usually very conscious about this, although I still take time to remind them from time to time. I’m not at all interested in having students get their feelings hurt because a fellow classmate responds in an unprofessional manner!
After instructing the students to sit with their teams of 3-4 students, I circulate whiteboards (one per group) and give the students their first tasks:
1) Everyone in the group needs a piece of paper
2) Brainstorm a group name that deals with probability
In my experience, the 2-3 minutes that you take allowing the students to brainstorm group names is well worth your while. They will have a great time selecting a name, PLUS it also forces them to revisit mathematical terminology associated with probabilities and/or statistics. They think it is fun and games – I think that it is great review… A WIN-WIN and a great start to the class period! (Sometimes, I give an extra hundred point head start to the best team name just to stir the pot.)
NOTE: For a fun twist, actually have the students play any "dice" or "card" probability problems that you create (if these types exist in your review). Having the students take a calculated risk adds value and meaning to the mathematics!
As was hinted in the previous video narrative, the conclusion of this lesson centers around the famous Monte Hall Problem. Many of my students will be able to make the connection between the “Deal or No Deal” lesson in this unit, and the more basic Monte Hall application. After allowing the students to make their selection (and a Jeopardy-style final wager) I show them the Monte Hall Problem Explained Video. This always gets a fun reaction out of the students as the winning door is revealed, not to mention that it is a great review of “gut feelings” versus real probabilities. I really embrace the light hearted emphasis on MP3 - where students have the chance to debate on behalf of their team about what they should do in the probability games that come up during the lesson.
If you and your students are intrigued by this game show problem like I was, here is another resource to supplement. It even has a 100 door simulator that extends the idea laid out in the 3 door problem.