Meadowridge News

The House Always Wins: Applying Data Management and Probability in Grade 10 Mathematics

While studying the mathematics of Probability Distributions and Expected Values, Grade 10 students came to understand how gambling works and why—even in honest and legal establishments—the “House” always wins!

Using their newfound insight, students designed and built a “carnival” game and worked out the probabilities to determine how much per game they should make if many people were to play. To do this, students had to consider the size of the “stake” people would be prepared to risk for the “prize” or return offered. 

Carnival games had to be transparent, honest, and set up so that the House would win in the long run. It also had to be fun to play!

To test their theoretical calculations, the class invited students and staff from all over the school to pit their wits and take their chance at their carnival. All attendees were given 20 “dollars” in raffle coupons to pay, and, at the end of the block, a raffle was held using all coupons in play. Six marvellous prizes were won! Of course, no Carnival would be complete without ice cream, and there was plenty of that, too!