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Theoretical vs Experimental
Objective:  Students will be able to write a definition of theoretical and experimental probability.

Materials:  Large bag of M and M’s and 1 brown lunch bag per group

Procedure:
  1. Students should be in groups of 3


  2. Each group should have one bag and a pile of colored candies.


  3. The group should count the number of each colored candy and record the data.


  4. The group should then record the number of times they predict that they will randomly select each color in as a fraction, decimal and percent.


  5. One member of the group should draw some of the candies from the bag, and the group should record the experiment on the tally sheet.


  6. The candies should be replaced, and the bagged gently shaken to mix the colors.


  7. The same procedure should be followed for 20 draws.


  8. Each group should then record their results on the chart of what actually happened. The results should be written as a fraction, decimal, and percent.
ColorsRedBlueGreenYellowBrownOrange
Number      
Predicted Outcomes 
Fraction      
Decimal      
Percent      
Actual Outcomes 
Fraction      
Decimal      
Percent      
Tally      


Conclusions: Students should answer the questions as a group at the end of the worksheet.
  1. Compare and contrast your predicted outcomes and your actual outcomes.


  2. Your predicted outcome is theoretical probability. Write a definition of theoretical probability.


  3. Your actual outcome is experimental probability. Write a definition of experimental probability.



C Gulliksen
C Adams

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