Education Technology

Statistics and Probability / Probability and Simulation

Grade Level 7
Activity 15 of 24
In this lesson, students use a simulation to collect data and estimate probabilities for a real situation, in which the theoretical probabilities are not obvious.

Planning and Resources

Students choose an appropriate model to simulate a chance outcome. They recognize the difference between the underlying structures of chance events that have a specified number of repetitions versus chance events in which the number of repetitions varies depending on the criteria for success.


Standard: Search Standards Alignment


Lesson Snapshot


When theoretical probability models are difficult to develop, a simulation model can be used to collect data and estimate probabilities for a real situation that is complex and where the theoretical probabilities are not obvious.

What to look for

Students should observe that chance will account for some variability, but overall the estimates of the probability of success from simulated distributions should be fairly close, provided the number of repetitions is fairly large.

Sample Assessment

Which of the following could be used to model a 50% chance in a setting up a simulation?

a. a number cube where the faces 1, 2, and 3 represented a success and faces 4, 5, and 6 a failure.
b. tossing two coins and getting two heads.
c. a spinner with 10 regions, where 1 to 6 represented a success and 7 to 10 a failure.
d. a deck of cards where hearts represented a success. 

Answer: A

The Big Idea

Simulation can be used to estimate answers to complicated probability questions.

What are the students doing?

Students use simulation models to determine the probability of an event occurring in real situations.

What is the teacher doing?

Have the class discuss their individual results from simulating a particular problem to help students recognize that simulations generally produce similar results.