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What Are My Chances?

What you'll need:
Two coins, paper and pencil to keep score

What to do:
Play these games with your child:

  1. Flip one coin. Every time it comes up heads, your child gets 1 point. Every time it comes up tails, you get 1 point. Flip it 50 times. Tally by 5's to make it easier to keep track of scores. The person with the most points wins. If one person has 10 points more than the other person does, score an extra 10 points. Does this happen very often? Why not?
  2. Flip two coins. If the coins come up two tails or two heads, your child scores 1 point. If it comes up heads and tails, you get 1 point. After 50 flips, see who has more points. Do you think the game is fair? What if one person received 2 points for every double heads and the other person received 1 point for everything else. Is this fair?
  3. Flip one coin. Then flip the other. If the second coin matches the first coin, your child scores 1 point. If the second coin doesn't match the first coin, you receive 1 point. Try this 50 times. Is the result the same as in the previous game?

Parent tip:
Understanding probability is essential in many areas of mathematics. Playing games that involve chance is one way to explore the laws of probability.

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