ERIC Number: ED295843
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Reference Count: N/A
Probability: Actual Trials, Computer Simulations, and Mathematical Solutions.
Walton, Karen Doyle; Walton, J. Doyle
The purpose of this teaching unit is to approach elementary probability problems in three ways. First, actual trials are performed and results are recorded. Second, a simple computer simulation of the problem provided on diskette and written for Apple IIe and IIc computers, is run several times. Finally, the mathematical solution of the problem is presented. Comparison of the three sets of results--actual trials, computer simulation, and mathematical solution--provides a surprising and motivating reinforcement for students. They become involved in problem solving through hands-on trials and computer simulations. The elegance of the mathematical solutions is contrasted with the awesome number-crunching ability of the computer and the "doing is believing" experience of the actual trials. The unit can be presented during consecutive mathematics or computer science classes, or individual problems can be presented alone as a diversion in a traditional curriculum. Most of the problems are appropriate for classes from seventh grade through the college level. Appendixes include: an explanation of basic probability terms; a brief history of probability; a microcomputer unit on generating random numbers; a description of the "Monte Carlo Method"; an annotated bibliography; and a list of other references. (PK)
Descriptors: Class Activities, Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Simulation, Experiential Learning, Mathematics Curriculum, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Instruction, Probability, Secondary Education, Secondary School Mathematics
Mathematics Education Trust, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091 ($6.00; price includes computer simulation on diskette).
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Mathematics Education Trust, Reston, VA.