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Stick or Switch

# Stick or Switch

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02/06/2013

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# Rationale I chose this lesson plan because it has several salient features that fit in well with the

methods suggested in the readings. This lesson features a problem that is accessible to high school students; moreover, the problem has a history that is interesting – it was featured on a game show and was moderately famous as a result of a Parade magazine feature. The problem also has an unexpected outcome. All of these things combine to form a lesson that can create a memorable discrepant event. Fisher & Frey mention that discrepant events should be memorable and command attention in order to facilitate recall and learning. I think that this lesson has those features. The teacher must work to stage a memorable production of the Monty Hall problem (for example, dressing as a game show host, encouraging students to participate in the game show environment, etc), but once this is accomplished it creates a highly memorable setting that, hopefully, will help the students to learn about conditional probabilities, probability trees, and monte carlo simulation. Fisher & Frey also emphasize the importance of discrepant events in facilitating recall of prior knowledge in subsequent lessons. I believe that this lesson has the potential to be a salient memory feature to function as such; in future lessons, as students are working with dependent probabilities, they can always “remember Monte Hall!”. That is, when examining probabilistic events, they can use this problem as a touchstone to recall the process of examining potential outcomes. If students can remember this lesson and how they analyzed the outcomes of this problem, then they will be able to apply this knowledge to future problems and situations. In addition, Chiappetta indicates that discrepant events can lead to and encourage inquiry based learning. This lesson features inquiry-based activities involving discovering optimal strategies for the Monty Hall problem. He states that A discrepant event puzzles students, causing them to wonder why the event occurred as it did. Puzzlement can stimulate students to engage in reasoning and the desire to find out (Piaget, 1971). Discrepant events can be used to promote inquiry. (Chiappetta, page 25) Chiappetta’s primary area of focus is science education, but the principles should transfer to mathematics education. The inquiry component of the lesson should compound the discrepant event of the presentation once the optimal strategy is found, because the optimal strategy turns out to be quite unexpected (to many people). This compounding effect should work to make a memorable lesson that emphasizes to the students the importance of the methods that they have learned; using these methods is not only correct, but can lead them to results that are highly unexpected. The lesson also requires a reasonable degree of math-related reading. Students are required to interpret graphs, directions, and results and translate them into the context of a real-life scenario (or, at least, a real-life game). These types of critical reading skills are frequently not found in math lessons, but are crucially important skills in the context of mathematics. Students need to be able to move between “real life” and “math” fluently. Reference Chiappetta, E. (1997). Inquiry-Based Science. The Science Teacher, October 1997, pp. 2226.

The students use experimental probability and the Law of Large Numbers to make and test conjectures about the theoretical probabilities of winning if they stay with their original door choice or switch to a new door after seeing what is behind one door. The introduction is designed to introduce the students to the rules of the game in a way that is not heavy on written words and easily accessible.nctm. The students simulate the game show using an applet from Shodor Education Foundation’s website. 2. In addition. using a simulation. or 3 on the game show “Let’s Make a Deal”. The lesson is intentionally written in stages: a discrepant event introduction (the gameshow!) and the simulation stage.org/LessonDetail. formal sense.org/interactivate/index. for the chance of winning what’s behind door number 1.aspx?id=L377 and from http://www.shodor. and the Law of Large Numbers. Shodor Interactive (http://www. the history of this problem gives the teacher an opportunity to create a memorable teaching experience by replicating a game show environment.doc Monty’s Dilemma is a lesson designed to develop the theoretical probability. The simulation stage takes the problem to its final formalized mathematical setting. This is intended to scaffold the students’ understanding of the rules prior to introducing the rules in a written. .html). experimental and theoretical probabilities.STICK OR SWITCH: The Monty Hall Problem Adapted from an Illuminations Lesson http://illuminations.montanamath. This is a fun way to learn about Monte Carlo simulations.org/lessons/montyslp.