I do not like waiting til the last minute – I feel so scattered and that my best simply cannot be achieved. But here goes – my plans for Algebra II – The Survivor Game (Theoretical vs. Experimental Probability) & The Locker Problem (HW) and Geometry – The Chaos Game (Intro to Sierpinski’s Triangle – patterns, similar triangles, midsegments, etc.)
Looking over my rosters – most students are not fans of math – so I thought it might be appropriate to “play” the SURVIVAL GAME. The best I can tell – none of these students were in classes where I’ve used this activity. Survival Game was shared with me by a friend who used it as part of her NBCT process and she found it in Mathematics Teacher, February 2002.
The scenario is (you can change it of course) – students have been in a devastating bus crash – they are all rushed to the local hospital for medical treatment. Due to low blood supply, there is a call for blood donors. The students chance of survival is based on the probability of a match or compatible blood type being donated. Though parts of this set-up are not realistic – its a great learning task and gets the idea of theoretical vs. experimental probability across.
I use white poker chips with color-coded circle labels in the centers – according to % of blood types in the U.S. in 2002. I’ll admit, I am too lazy to change the chips. You go around the room and each student draws a chip to determine their blood type. Discussion comes up – do we replace? Why/Why not?
Then we look at which blood types are compatible – a very brief discussion about Rh factors, etc. Resources are linked on the files. Students mark on their recording sheets M-match, C-compatible, N-nonmatch. We begin the simulation of blood donors, recording the data and writing the P(S) – probability of survival as the ratio of (Matches+Compatible) / (trial #). When all 25 trials are complete (its fun – students cheer with matches and groan with non-matches), students compute equivalent decimal values – these are then used to create a graph of their P(S).
I love this activity – only twice in all the times I’ve used it have the Theoretical / Experimental Probabilities not “leveled out” within the 25 trials. A discussion about “the law of large numbers” takes place – on how more trials will usually result closer to the theoretical.
I do have @MathBratt’s Locker Problem lined up just in case…
My first day in geometry – I’m playing the chaos game.
I’m going to show a clip from Jurassic Park
I am making Chaos Game template copies on transparencies for each student to have their own triangle. I will let them use dry-erase so the triangles can be cleaned off, filed and reused.Everyone picks a random point (seed) inside their triangle. They roll a # cube, if its 1 or 2, they measure the distance between their point and vertex marked 1,2. Place a new point at the half-way mark. They roll again, measure distance between newest point and corresponding vertex. Place new point half-way between. Continue about 100 times per student (or as many times as time will allow). Overlay the triangles… and you get something close to Sierpinski’s Triangle. Hopefully. I have gotten one each time I’ve played this with students in the past – but you never know because nothing is really predictable. Or is it? We’ll take a look at an online example from Cut-the-Knot
I will then give them a section of Triangle Graph Paper and let them “color” a sierpinski trianlge – probably about 3 or 4 iterations.
- Find as many patterns / geometry terms within our Triangle.
- What is a Fractal?
- What is Pascal’s Triangle and how is it related to Sierspinski’s?
I’m thinking I can use this over and over – in probability – similar triangles, midsegments, etc. throughout the semester. Hoping so anyway.
These are 2 activities I love – they are somewhat fun, but still bring some good math related discussions. I figure if I share something I enjoy – it’ll be a good transition to a new year.