Probability Games

Dice games, coin tossing, and spinners can easily be played online as well as off. Today's collection of probability games includes both kinds of activities, but with an emphasis on virtual online games.

• Between Waters: Probability Games4 stars

This unassuming list of probability games lets you virtually toss a coin, roll a die, and play a Monty Hall game, where the host presents you with a choice of three doors. "Behind one door is a new car. Behind the others are goats. The host knows where the car is and has scripted the scenario in advance." The author cleverly adds that this a demonstration only. He is not giving away any cars or goats! Should you switch doors after the host shows you a goat behind one of the remaining doors? Play the game and figure it out.

• Johnnie's Math Page: Probability4 stars

The probability section at Johnnie's Math Page consists of links to thirteen games at other sites. They include dice games, coin games, and spinner games. My favorites are Ski Outcome and What's in Santa's Sack? Ski Outcome includes a video introducing the science of avalanche prediction, and a printable worksheet to keep track of the outcomes of the interactive game. What's in Santa's Sack is a Christmas probability game that asks you to determine what presents Santa has in his bag, based on his taking one gift out at a time, showing it to you, and then returning it to the bag.

• Mathwire: One Die Toss5 stars

These eight die-toss activities are designed to be done (gasp!) offline, with a real die. For those looking for online games, at the bottom of the page are links to interactive versions of three of the experiments. Each activity includes printable directions (in PDF) with printable game boards where needed. Activities include Game of Pig, Car Race, and the Great Cookie Race. "Great Cookie Race challenges students to predict how many chips they will need to make sure each cookie has 8 chips. In this simulation, students toss a die, make a chip on that cookie and continue tossing and marking until each cookie has at least 8 chips."

• Mr. Nussbaum: Probability Fair5 stars

Mr. Nussbaum (a fourth grade teacher from Virginia) has put together a virtual county fair, with six games of chance. "Students will learn the practical application of the concept of probability by playing carnival games. The object is to win as many tickets as possible." With the tickets you win spinning the wheel (choose the colors with the highest probability of winning), you can play additional games such as the Shell Game, Plinko or Duck Pluck. There is a link to more math games at the bottom of the page.

• Shodor: Interactivate: Activities5 stars

There isn't a direct link to the probability games, so from this main menu, you'll need to click on Probability in the horizontal navigation menu. These seventeen interactive games include classics such as Simple and Advanced Monty Hall, Racing Game with One Die, and a Coin Toss. These Shodor games are my probability pick of the day because of the quantity and quality of the games. In addition to the games, each includes resources for both the teacher and the student (called the Learner) with links to more activities, worksheets, and discussion questions.

• By . Originally written on Nov 01, 2009. Last Modified on May 30, 2012.

• Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

• Scholastic Teacher: 4 Great Math Games

•  Probability Games and Other Activities by Ivan Moscovich (Card Book) Price: \$1.38
 The Game of Probability: Literature and Calculation from Pascal to Kleist... by Rudiger Campe (Paperback) - Usually ships in 24 hours Price: \$25.43
 Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi: Martin Gardner's... by Martin Gardner (Paperback) - Usually ships in 24 hours Price: \$10.00