Education Technology

Probably Not!

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students learn to find the theoretical probability of different female/male combinations in a family of kittens. Students will investigate empirical and theoretical probabilities and make a connection to Pascal's triangle and binomial outcomes.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 99 - 105 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Given a problem to find the probability that a cat will deliver 5 calico female kittens
  • Divide the class in pairs
  • Each pair simulates the flipping of 5 coins 50 times on the calculator, with 1 standing for heads (female), and 0 standing for tails (male)
  • Keep a tally chart of all outcomes
  • Record results of each group
  • Generate lists for the number of female kittens, team frequency totals, and class frequency totals
  • Enter data in lists and plot a bar graphs of number of female kittens versus team frequency totals and number of female kittens versus class frequency totals
  • Make a list of all possible combination of outcomes and complete the summary table provided
  • Complete Pascal's Triangle
  • Use Pascal's Triangle and the summary table to complete the Theoretical Probability Table
  • Generate a list and enter fractional probabilities
  • Generate another list with the predicted or expected numbers
  • Create a double bar graph and compare the empirical and theoretical probabilities
  • After the Activity

    Students will complete the Worksheet and analyze the results.

    Review student results:

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