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Dice duels: airport subtraction


Move planes along numbered lanes on an airport runway. Subtract the smaller number from the larger number on a pair of dice to determine which plane takes off. Try to predict which lane is most likely to clear quickly. Explore how many rolls are needed to match a chosen number five times. Look at an explanation of uneven distributions. Compare the theoretical data distribution with experimental results. This learning object is one in a series of 11 objects.

Key learning objectives

  • Students collect and handle data about random events to test conjectures about variation and probabilities.
  • Students interpret frequency graphs to identify theoretical probabilities.
  • Students distinguish between even and uneven data distributions.
  • Students compare theoretical and experimentally derived data distributions.
  • Students relate the shape of data distributions to statements about sample variation and sample size.

Educational value

  • Provides scenarios for students to use dice as a means to explore relationships between bias, proportions, sample size, random variation, and statistical distributions.
  • Demonstrates that conclusions based on small sample sizes can be incorrect due to random variation.
  • Includes scenarios involving an uneven distribution.
  • Introduces mathematical ideas underpinning uneven distributions via an on-screen tutorial.
  • Automatically collates experimental results and finishes them if they require many trials.