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Spinners: match up


Predict the results of testing coloured spinners (dials with pointers). Choose two spinners that are likely to generate similar results. For example, choose a four-part spinner with two blue sectors and two yellow sectors. Match it with an equivalent spinner divided into blue and yellow halves. Test the pair of spinners over a number of spins. See what colour the pointer lands on each time. Watch the graph build and the numbers in the results table change after each spin. Compare the actual results with the expected results. Check whether spinners with the same proportion of each colour produce similar frequency graphs. This learning object is one in a series of six objects.

Key learning objectives

  • Students explore the difference between the information provided by short-run, medium-run, and long-run data.
  • Students explore the relationship between sample space and likelihood of outcomes.
  • Students use proportional thinking to identify mathematically equivalent random generators.

Educational value

  • Students compare theoretical outcomes and actual results.
  • Includes a tool that enables the user to construct area-based random generators in the form of spinners and to run trials to generate both short-run (10 spins) and long-run (10,000 spins) data.
  • The spinner tool maximises student choice, control, and creativity as they explore the results from making various spinners.
  • Experimental results are dynamically displayed in a column graph and a table that shows both theoretical outcomes and actual results.