New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Learning about Probability through Game Strategies

Tanja Van Hecke, University Ghent (Belgium)


We present a mathematical activity that can be used to reach a deeper understanding of probability for students of grade 8-14. By means of dice games teachers can introduce students to the concepts of probability through hands-on exercises that can be implemented in the classroom. The described approach is one of an active learning environment, a platform to engage students in the learning process and may increase student/student and student/instructor interaction. The activities require use of some basic summation results, binomial coefficients and limits. As such they build on knowledge

students have acquired in prior classes. The game we discuss, requires a stake of both players. Determining the winner is only a matter of luck as it is based on a die. But the reward after winning is related to the stakes chosen by the players. So the question arises which stakes lead to a fair game, i.e. the average net profit for both players is zero. The material described in this paper can be used by faculty members teaching probability at the undergraduate level. Student activities are presented here student can use mathematics as a tool to discover the unfairness and to design a better strategy to make the game fair

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