The Lottery Game

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The Lottery Game
The Lottery Game
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This fun and fast moving game is easy and quick to play. Teachers can use it as a warm-up, review, or closer activity. To play, you will need some sort of resource that is number one through ten. Because you do not want any doubles, 'number cubes' are not recommended. Use cards, counters, ping pong balls, etc.

Since you want to make a connection between actual state lottery games and this classroom one, start out by explaining how to calculate the probability of winning a lottery with 6 numbers chosen out of 50. This is a good time to demonstrate the equation.

Then, it's time to play. Students can use the included worksheet to record their numbers or they can do so in their notebooks or other paper. Once the students have chosen, teachers can also choose numbers. The teacher should draw the numbers for the first few rounds. This will help get the game started, answer any questions, and set the pace for the activity. If a number is drawn that is not in his or her 'lottery ticket', the student is out for the rest of that round.

After a few rounds, the teacher should have students predict how likely they are to win. Have them state their predictions as a probability – '1 out of 10' or '1 in 30 chance'. Then, show the equation for calculating the probability of winning the lottery with 6 numbers chosen out of 10. This is a good time to review canceling numerators and denominators when multiplying fractions. Most students are amazed to realize their chance of winning this shortened version of the lottery is '1 out of 210'!

Play as many rounds as you can in a set amount of time – usually 5 to 10 minutes. Keep track of how many winners you actually get. If you teach several class sections, keep track of each of them. See if you get close to the predicted ratio.

Oh, and have fun,

Bob Buscher

The Lottery Game is related to probability, likelihood, probability formula, numerator, denominator, multiplying fractions, canceling fractions and related concepts.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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The Lottery Game
The Lottery Game