## Rock Paper Scissors anyone?

Do you ever look at a lesson and wonder how you can make the lesson more engaging?  Today I was looking at a lesson on probability.  I began the lesson using a deck of cards as an example – and asking questions like: What is the probability that the card will be red? a heart? a five? a face card?  Some of the students looked at me clueless explaining that they had no idea what cards in a deck looked like.  Fortunately – probability has so many possible manipulatives.  Today I pulled out a new one.

Rock-paper-scissors: You vs. the computer.  There are two modes – novice and veteran.  As you play the computer the computer chooses options based on the player’s patterns.  This site is great because it keeps track of wins, and the students can view what the computer is thinking before it makes it’s move.  My students got into this.  We created a tally chart with player/computer/tie as our three columns.  Each student played the computer 10 times.  We conjectured probability results ahead of time to see if we were correct.  After the students each played – then we added their scores and they had to find the percent for each column.  The activity was so engaging!  Who knew rock-paper-scissors could be so fun – everyone was begging to play again.

24: Everyone loves the game 24.  In this game students are given four numbers and their first objective is to see if they can use those four numbers to get to 24 using any operations and each number only once.  Their second goal is to see if they can come up with new ways to solve for 24.  Although there are card game versions, I prefer this website that allows for you to insert any four numbers and the website will calculate all the different ways that you could solve for 24.  It allows for you to push your students to keep thinking!  The students love this – although – my suggestion would be to start with easier ones before getting hard, because students will give up.