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        Probability and the Law of Large Numbers

        Students learn about probability and the law of large numbers. Through increasingly large trial sizes, students witness the way in which results get closer and closer to 50%.

        Lesson Summary


        This Cyberchase activity addresses a common misconception that a phenomenon whose probability is 50:50 should alternate outcomes during trials. It gradually presents the law of large numbers by beginning with 4 trials, 10 trials, and 350 trials, and showing that the results get closer and closer to 50%. The activity is motivated by a Cyberchase For Real episode on making a decision about what movie to attend.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        1 hour

        Media Resources

        When Does 50-50 Become 50-50? QuickTime Video


        Handout: Coin Flipping and More Flipping
        Assessment: Level A
        Assessment: Level B
        Answer Key

        The Lesson

        Part I: Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Distribute the Handout: Coin Flipping and More Flipping .

        2. Tell the students that they will watch a video of Bianca doing an experiment.

        3. As they watch the video clip, ask the students to make a record of each experiment Bianca does and to complete the first part of the handout.

        4. Show the When Does 50-50 Become 50-50? QuickTime Video .

        5. Ask the students to complete parts 2 and 3 of handout.

        6. Discuss with students the results of the handout.

        Part II: Part II: Assessment

        Assessment: Level A (proficiency): Students are given the results of a survey of children's after-school activities, and are asked to predict from the survey how many of their classmates (out of 12) would be involved in a particular activity after school.

        Assessment: Level B (above proficiency): Students are provided with results from 4 different experiments with different sample sizes, and are asked to determine which experiment's results are likely to be the most accurate.


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