Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Final Project in Math Class

Our final theme in math class has been data collection/probability. It is always one of my very favorite topics to teach. We've done a lot of probability work using one die, two dice, and coin tosses.

We are now doing a sampling activity, using a simulation. Simply put, sampling is a selection taken from a larger group so that you can find information about the larger group. Our simulation is an interesting one for the children as it is something they can relate to:

The president of a well-known cereal company has somehow heard of our math group - how smart, hard-working, and dedicated they are. She wrote me to ask if the children could help her figure out how to sell more cereal. She thought it may be a good idea to put six different toys in cereal boxes - perhaps 6 toys that worked together as a group (say, a puzzle, or a collection of action figures, or whatever). Children would want to collect all six toys, and would beg their parents to buy the cereal. However, there would be an additional cost of the toys to consider.

We already know the chances, or odds, of getting all six toys by buying just six boxes of cereal are pretty slim. Or, as one of my astute students said, "It's possible, but not at all probable."

We are in the process of finding out how many boxes, on average, a family would have to buy to get all six toys. Once we collect and analyze our data, we will be writing to the president to advise her if it is a good idea.

What do YOU think?