Estimating Probabilities Through Repeated Experiments
In this lesson students roll a number cube many times and calculate the cumulative fraction of the time that an event occurs to see that in the long run this relative frequency approaches the probability of the chance event. By repeating the experiment and examining the structure of the results, students are engaging in MP8. They also see that the relative frequency of a chance event will not usually exactly match the actual probability. For example, when flipping a coin 100 times, the coin may land showing a head 46 times instead of exactly 50 times and not be considered unreasonable.
In future lessons students will be asked to design and use simulations. Each lesson leading up to that helps prepare students by giving them hands-on experience with different types of chance experiments they could choose to use in their simulations. In this lesson students work with rolling a number cube and tossing a coin.
- Describe (orally and in writing) patterns observed on a table or graph that shows the relative frequency for a repeated experiment.
- Generalize (orally) that the cumulative relative frequency approaches the probability of the event as an experiment is repeated many times.
- Generate possible results that would or would not be surprising for a repeated experiment, and justify (orally) the reasoning.
Let’s do some experimenting.
The In the Long Run activity requires 1 number cube for every 3 students. Access to graph paper may be useful, but is not required.
- I can estimate the probability of an event based on the results from repeating an experiment.
- I can explain whether certain results from repeated experiments would be surprising or not.
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