Discarding Digits Activity is enjoyed more by my students that any other activity that I use throughout the school year.
• Student Activity: Discarding Digits (2 pages), 1 copy per student
• One six-sided die per student or pair of students or
• A random number generator for each student /pair of students or
• A single random number generated to be used by the instructor
Through the choices that they have to make in this activity, students have the opportunity to experiment with different strategies while they observe the outcomes of this probability game. Since each game takes approximately five minutes to complete, students may revise their strategies as they play additional games throughout the class period. Note: The instructor has the option of announcing the numbers for all the games by randomly generating the integers one through six (my personal preference because the students' reactions are more intense), or providing a 6-sided die for each pair of students who are competing against each other so they can generate their own random numbers.
When this activity is completed, an examination of different strategies, and student rationales for using them, can lead to an interesting class discussion. Note: To speed up a game and require students to make additional choices, students can be directed to eliminate any six of the numbers in the grid before the next game begins.
To force a dramatic change in student strategy and create an interesting twist to this game, random digits from 1 to 12 can be generated without changing the game rules.