Education Technology

Collecting Pens

Activity Overview

Students explore simulation strategies to solve real world problems involving probability and randomness. They use the Monte Carlo procedure to simulate the collecting of six different colored felt-tipped markers from boxes of Kellogg's cereals. They examine and analyze summary statistics and statistical plots of the data.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 61 - 76 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Assign a number from 1 to 6 for each color
  • Use the calculator to generate random numbers between 1 and 6 (including 1 and 6)
  • Record the frequency of the numbers
  • When all six numbers have appeared at least once, repeat the simulation for two more trials
  • Enter the data as lists and create a frequency table
  • Examine the frequency table and record the minimum and maximum values, and the largest frequency
  • Set up the window and define the width of the interval
  • Graph a histogram
  • Create a box-and-whisker plot
  • Analyze the distribution of the data
  • Determine the number of boxes a customer has to buy in order to collect all six pen colors
  • After the Activity

    Students complete the data sheet and answer questions.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary