In this activity, students study some important concepts of probability. They use coin tossing experiments to determine the probability of a tossed coin coming up heads. They examine both short and long term experimental probabilities and their relationship to the theoretical probability.

Before the Activity

See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity

Print pages 41 - 49 from the attached PDF file for your class

During the Activity

Distribute the pages to the class.

Follow the Activity procedures:

Use the calculator to simulate tossing of a coin

Note that each of the numbers generated is either 1 or 0

Predict the result of a coin toss

Simulate tossing a coin ten times

Record the results and compare with the prediction

Enter the data as a list

Compute the ratio of the number of heads to the total number of tosses, and save the fraction (representing the experimental probability) in a list

Set up a line plot and graph the results

Add a horizontal line that represents the decimal fraction 0.5 (theoretical probability)

Examine the data around this line and determine how close the fractions are to 1/2

Understand that it is possible that the final fraction is not 0.5

Repeat the simulation for more sets of ten coin tosses

Realize that as larger number of trials are conducted, the experimental probability comes closer to the theoretical probability

After the Activity

Students complete data sheet and answer questions.

Review student results:

As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging