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ERIC Number: EJ1029432
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Dropping in on the Math of Plinko
Naresh, Nirmala; Royce, Bridget
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v19 n4 p214-221 Nov 2013
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 (CCSSI 2010) and the Guidelines for Assessment in Statistics Education (GAISE) (Franklin et al. 2007) 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 (Lanier and Barrs 2003; Lemon 1997; Haws 1995). 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 approach aligns with the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) recommendations that "probability experiments should focus on obtaining empirical data to develop relative frequency interpretations" (Franklin et al. 2007, p. 34). This article describes how students design game boards and gather experimental data to better understand the hidden mathematics in a common television game show. A bibliography is provided.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A