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Dropping in on the math of Plinko. (English)
Math. Teach. Middle Sch. 19, No. 4, 214-221 (2013).
Summary: The game of Plinko offers students an exciting real-world example of the applications of probability and data analysis. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Guidelines for Assessment in Statistics Education (GAISE) suggest that students in grades 6‒8 be given ample opportunities to engage in activities and simulations to make predictions and to gather experimental data to test and validate their predictions. Plinko-based mathematical explorations allow students to use technology to generate simulations and employ the data to make informed predictions and inferences. Several mathematical concepts can be explored using a Plinko board. Documented Plinko-related mathematical investigations have highlighted high school students’ notions of Pascal’s triangle, experimental and theoretical probability, and expected value. For this lesson, the authors made a conscious decision to focus on experimental probability because the goals were to give students an opportunity to engage in an interesting activity, perform simulations, generate conjectures, and use experimental data to test the conjectures. This article describes how students design game boards and gather experimental data to better understand the hidden mathematics in a common television game show. (ERIC)
Classification: K53 K93 A23 D83
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