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Stick or Switch

Stick or Switch

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Published by: erhartman on Jul 10, 2011
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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.

III.shodor. Go to the interactive applet to simulate individual trials of this game. projector. i. using such methods as tree diagrams and area models. f.html. Materials: Computer. Give students an opportunity to play the game. The learner will use proportionality and a basic understanding of probability to make and test conjectures about the results of experiments and simulations. Monty will show another door with a pig behind it. http://www. encouraging students to take part in the game. Introduce the game by having students play “Monty’s Dilemma”.org/interactivate/activities/monty3/index. The teacher should dress and act as a game show host. Play the game with the students. The area it lands on is the students “door” choice. Ask students to tally mark the number of games where they won the . Ask a student to choose a door and click on it. However. spinners and copies of a spinner divided into three equal areas. Monty shows you the other door without a prize behind it. Click on their second door choice. After several rounds. b. h. d. they win nothing. After playing the applet simulation. access to internet.Monty’s Dilemma: Should You Stick or Switch? Experimental Probability I. State the objectives of the lesson. Write down your prediction and the reason for your prediction. g. The prize will always be behind door A. ask students to predict what is better: to switch doors or to stay with the original choice. Objective: The learner will use a probability tree and Monte Carlo simulation to determine theoretical probabilities by examining experimental probabilities and using the Law of Large Numbers. Ask the student if they want to “stick” with their original choice of doors or “switch” to the other door. if they see the boat and prizes they win a piece of candy. Students spin the spinner. where you act as Monty and the students act as the contestant (or audience. Three Doors Exploration Questions”. The learner will compute probabilities for simple compound events. Hand out the spinners and the copies of the spinner divided into three equal areas. Lesson: Monty’s Dilemma: Should You Stick or Switch? a. you don’t switch from your original door choice. Describe the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” hosted by Monty Hall. Introduce the rules to the students in a formal fashion. If they see the other pig. Or write down no change and why they decided not to change. how many would stay? How many would switch? Share some of the reasons with the class. c. coins. First the class will simulate the choice of “sticking” to the original door. This serves as an introduction to the game. Read the situation from “Monty Hall. By a show of hands. II. shouting suggestions). Write down their new predictions and reason for the change. e. The learner will apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems. ask students if they want to change their predictions.

r. o.org/interactivate/activities/monty/index. Does sticking or switching give a better chance of winning the prize? Why? How does this compare to your prediction? Write down your answers. Collect the class data and obtain a class experimental probability. j. Find the experimental probability after playing 25 times. Since this particular problem involves the process of revising our probability estimates in the light of new information about the doors. Use the applet for a large number of trials to demonstrate the Law of Large Numbers and how the experimental probability approaches a constant amount. Compare the theoretical probabilities to the experimental probabilities. k. you switch to the remaining door. IV. Tally mark the number of games won and the total number of games played. Summary: Misconceptions of chance are common. Now the class will simulate the choice of “switching” to the other door after Monty has shown the first door with a pig. Write down your observations. http://www.html m. Collect the class data and obtain a class experimental probability. Use the applet for a large number of trials to demonstrate the Law of Large Numbers and how the experimental probability approaches a constant amount. it involves conditional probabilities. Determine the theoretical probability of winning by using the areas on the spinner and walking through the simulations of each strategy. Compare your probability to the class probability.prize and the number of total games played. These steps are very helpful in understanding exactly what occurs within each of the strategies.shodor. Students spin the spinner. This time. V. What is the experimental probability of winning if you switch to the other door? What is the experimental probability of losing? How did you obtain your answer? p. n. http://www. Strong evidence points to the fact that people are especially prone to misconceptions of chance that involve conditional probabilities. Find the experimental probability after playing 25 times.shodor. the results of their experimental probabilities and the class probabilities. Which do you think is more accurate? Why? This introduces the “Law of Large Numbers”. and the theoretical probabilities. . The prize will always be behind door A. changing their predictions. the closer the experimental probability will come to the theoretical probability.org/interactivate/activities/monty/index. Compare your probability to the class probability. The more trials performed. Assessment: Students turn in their write-ups about their predictions. A good way to solve probability problems is to proceed from predictions to experiments to simulations to theoretical models. Monty shows you the other door without the prize behind it. The area it lands on is the student’s first “door” choice. What is the experimental probability of winning if you stick to your original door? What is the experimental probability of losing if you stick to your original door? How did you obtain your answer? l.html q.

the winning ticket number is one of six listed numbers and your entry is among the six. find the experimental probability for a large number of trials. find the theoretical probability. What should you do and what are your chances of winning? i. . Make a prediction. Extension: Suppose you enter a sweepstakes and subsequently receive an announcement that after a random drawing out of a million entries. What is the probability that you hold the winning ticket? Suppose you are given the opportunity to change your entry to any of those six listed.a. design and perform and experiment. Write up your results.

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Write the experimental probability of “staying”. Explain how we determined this probability. Explain how we determined the experimental probability.Monty’s Dilemma Assignment 1. 2. Use the experimental and theoretical probabilities we obtained during this lesson in your response. . Copy the class list of experimental outcomes for “staying”. Explain why you would “stay” or “switch”. Would you “stay” or “switch”? Explain why. Keep a tallied list of your experiment for “staying”. Write a few sentences explaining whether you would “stay” with your original door choice or “switch” to a new door after seeing one of the choices. Write the experimental probability of “switching”. Write a few sentences comparing your original prediction in #1 to how you feel now. 3. 4.

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