Requirements: A coin for each student & smart board or data projector.

First ask your students to toss a coin 10 times each.

Ask each student how many heads in a row they threw.

Now ask students ‘Do you think it is possible to throw 10 heads in a row?

It can be done. Here is how you do it.

Derren Brown is a UK mentalist, magician, hypnotist and maths guru. He’s awesome. He shows audiences how a lack of understanding maths, especially probability, leads to misinterpreting the facts.

This exercise works best if for homework the middle school students count the digits in their own cell phone, passport, bill code or some other number. They don’t have to show the passport or bill. They just have to count the digits.

According to the fabNBC video, Mathletes, nine Figure Skating judges score competitors for the complexity of each element (eg. Triple axel or triple spin jump) and the quality of the performance producing a score out of ten.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win GOLD at Pyeong Chang 2018

Kailani Craine, Australia

This is a typical figure skating score card for one competitor.

The final score, however, is based on the average for only 5 of these scores. Two are eliminated by random selection (Red Brackets). Then the top and bottom scores are removed and the remaining five scores averaged.

Screen grab NBC Mathletes

……………………………………………………

Now consider the IDENTICAL SCORE CARDS

of Skater A & B:

Skater A:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them)

7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 6.75 + 7.00

……………………………………..

= 34.75/ 5 = 6.95

Skater B:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them). But this time the random selector eliminates two low scores.

The average:

7.00 + 7.25 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00

……………………………………..

= 35.25/ 5 = 7.05

Same score cards but Skater B gets a higher average score than Skater A.

Skater A is, in fact, beaten by a random number selector!!!!

You can find the free pdf worksheet (included below) here.

Other fun middle school math(s) worksheets in the Hot Heels series at TpT include

Unit Rates, Angles, Ratios and Algebra.

There is a lot of maths and science behind coffee sloshing in a coffee mug. ‘The human stride has almost exactly the right frequency to drive the natural oscillations of coffee’ explains fluid physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara. You will find their full explanation here.

Statistics for alcohol consumption are tricky. Binge drinking gets confused with heavy drinking. If you want to stay young go to the UK. They think anyone under 35 is a youth! Some stats separate Male and Female drinking habits. Some don’t. And legal drinking ages vary. Canada is one crazy place. It has different legal drinking ages in different parts of the country.

Legal Drinking Age:

The Maths

What we are working on here is reading maths data. No lectures. The numbers speak for themselves.

Alcohol related death stats over lap other stats including death involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, jet skis, quad bikes, drowning, diving, stairs, supermarket trolleys and evenhigh heels.

Under 18 years of age. 1996 It is believed that as many as 83 percent of teenagers in Canada consume alcohol. Back in 1996, underage drinking was responsible for 3,500 deaths and 2,000,000 injuries. A 2002 survey found that 20 percent of eight graders had consumed alcohol within the previous month. Source

4,358 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning. Source

These countries have different populations (See post below). USA population is 15 times Australia’s. 260 x 15 = 3,900. So the Aussie and US stats are in the same ball park even though the stats have been collected for different age ranges. But look at Canada. The USA population is about 9 times Canada’s. 4,358 ÷ 9 = 484 deaths. This death statistic for Canada is 10 times larger than the USA statistic per head of population.Meanwhile, the population of Canada is 1 1/2 or 1.5 times Australia’s. 260 x 1.5 = 390. Once again, the Canadian statistic is out by a factor of 10. What’s going on here?

The Bar Where You’re Too Afraid to Get Smashed

Mathspig is a party pig. But why does anyone drink themselves senseless? Many reasons, but one is they’re bored. Now here is a bar in Mathspig’s home town, Melbourne, where you better stay sober.Break out of prison in Trapt Bar.You’re in prison, you’re innocent, and no one believes you. You plot an escape with the other prisoners–because unless you break free soon, you’ll all face an unspeakable death (this prison is off the charts). At Trapt Bar and Escape Rooms, you and your teammates have 45 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles and escape before…well…let’s spare you the gruesome details.

According to the fab NBC video, Mathletes, nine Figure Skating judges score competitors for the complexity of each element (eg. Triple axel or triple spin jump) and the quality of the performance producing a score out of ten.

Joannie Rochette

Brendan Kerry Australia…..

This is a typical figure skating score card for one competitor.

The final score, however, is based on the average for only 5 of these scores. Two are eliminated by random selection (Red Brackets). Then the top and bottom scores are removed and the remaining five scores averaged.

Screen grab NBC Mathletes

……………………………………………………

Now consider the IDENTICAL SCORE CARDS

of Skater A & B:

Skater A:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them)

7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 6.75 + 7.00

……………………………………..

= 34.75/ 5 = 6.95

Skater B:

Four scores are removed. Two by the random selector (in brackets) and then the top and bottom scores (with line drawn through them). But this time the random selector eliminates two low scores.

The average:

7.00 + 7.25 + 7.00 + 7.00 + 7.00

……………………………………..

= 35.25/ 5 = 7.05

Same score cards but Skater B gets a higher average score than Skater A.

Skater A is, in fact, beaten by a random number selector!!!!