Game to Measure Chance

Once experimenters began to see events repeat in the world, they began to study the probability certain events would occur. You can build an electrical game to study probability.

Materials you will need:
  • Energizer® Power Pack
  • Thumbtacks
  • Bulb holder or alternate bulb holder with a 3V bulb
  • One dime, one nickel, and one quarter
  • 9" X 14" wood board piece
  • No. 22 insulated copper wire
  • 12" box of kitchen foil
  1. 1. Make eight strips of foil 3/4" wide and 7.5" long. Make two more strips 3/4" wide and 12" long. Place the 12" strips along the 14" edges of the board and tack ends of strips onto the board. Place the eight foil strips in a maze pattern 1/2" apart as illustrated, overlapping the base of each to the 12" outer strips. Tack in place. Connect bulb holder, Energizer Power Pack, and game board together as shown.building-the-flashlight
  2. 2. You now have a working game to measure chance. The grid you built is an open circuit. Depending on where the coin lands it could close the circuit and turn the light bulb
  3. 3. Your ability to predict the chance a coin will land so the circuit is closed is a beginning in the study of probability.
  4. 4. Predict how many times the light bulb is going to turn on with a nickel, a dime, and a quarter.
  5. 5. Toss a dime at the grid 10 times and record how many times the light bulb turned on. Repeat the experiment with a nickel and a quarter. How often did each coin cover two aluminum strips and close the circuit turning the bulb on? Keep records of your results on a table like the one shown below and compare the results to your prediction. The more times you toss the coin the better you will become at estimating the probability of the coin closing the circuit.