Monday, January 5, 2015

Rescuing a poorly designed worksheet

So my son brought home a math worksheet/game to do over the winter break. It involved rolling four six-sided dice and adding them into 2 sums and then multiplying the two sums. The goal was to be the first person to get totals close to the first 12 perfect squares excluding 1. I took one look and thought sheesh this is going to take forever and has very little meat to it anyway. As expected all the totals clustered in the center.

So first thankfully we own a wide assortment of dice including the mighty twenty sided ones and small tetrahedrons that we added to the game to speed it up. I had to allow any operations to be used that you wanted in order to accelerate the issue. 

Then I had him think about the only roll that would allow him to  get to 144  (4 sixes). Even one five and you'd be closer to 11^2. That provided a quick transition to calculating the probability 1/1296. As I told him, I'm not playing this for that long. 

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