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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sampling - Math Class News

We will continue our unit on probability, data collection, and sampling until the end of the year. (I'm saddened to think that there are only a few more math classes until we are out for the summer, and will pack in as much math fun as possible!)

Today, I told the children that the president of Cheerios needs our help. Ms. Oats asked us to help figure out of putting toys in cereal boxes is a good idea - from a business, not consumer, point of view. She wants to think of toys that children will want to collect - six different toys that somehow work together or would be best as a set. That way, kids will want their parents to keep buying Cheerios until they have all six different toys. Ms. Oats doesn't know if this will be a good plan, as she knows that it will cost more to put toys in the boxes.

So we promised to help by doing a sampling. Each student (11 in all) did 4 different trials, using a six sided die. That way, we have a relatively large sample of 44 families. Each child rolled a die and marked their sheets (see example). Some families got really lucky - the child rolled a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and a 6, with no repeats, meaning that they had to buy the very lowest amount possible - 6 different toys in 6 boxes. Other families were not so lucky - the unluckiest family had to purchase 20, 30, or even more boxes, until they got all six different toys.

Example from Noelle - her first family had to purchase 20 boxes of cereal to collect all six toys! Her second family was a lot luckier, and had to purchase only 8. 
Tomorrow, we will find the AVERAGE for all 44 trials, and then the children will write a letter to Ms. Oats, telling her whether they think her plan is a good one. They will also get to tell her what she should put in those boxes.

This is always such a fun activity, and another one that is real-life - children can definitely see the real world value of knowing about sampling and finding averages. I wonder what advice these mathematicians will have for Ms. Oats tomorrow?

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