Dice throwing simulator: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
Dice are one of a maths teacher’s go-to resources when it comes to teaching probability. Rolling dice allows us to ask a whole host of questions about probability, from single events, combined events, right through to conditional probability. But one area they are particularly important for is the idea of experimental probability; I find this is a concept that many students find difficult to grasp. If we know the probability of rolling a 5 is ⅙, does that mean we will always get one 5 every 6 rolls?

This wonderful resource can really help get to the bottom of these, and other related questions. It uses the power of Excel, together with some fancy programming, to allow you to generate and record the outcomes of single dice rolls, right up to 100,000 rolls. These are all presented beautiful in a table and a pie chart.

How can it be used?
This is great for a discussion around experimental probability. Once students have established to probability of rolling a single number on a dice, they can then be challenged to consider questions such as:

How many 5s would we expect after 10 rolls? How certain would you be about this? How about after 100,000 rolls? Would your level of certainty change? Why?

Being able to pose these questions, listen to students’ reasoning, and then instantly see the results, makes this an absolute banker for my teaching of experimental probability for years to come.

Thanks for sharing!
Craig Barton

Download: Dice rolling simulator
View the author’s other resources

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