Shake and Spill

Shake and Spill is an activity from Marilyn Burns book: Math by All Means: Probability Grades 3-4 to teach students about probability. Students randomly "spill" 6 two-colored chips and track the number of each color in a set of 6.

This site runs a Monte Carlo Simulation of Shake and Spill. While it may take you 20 seconds for each "spill", most computers can simulate thousands of "spills" in just 1 second. Scientists and mathematicians use this method to predict the outcome of sporting events, forecast the paths of hurricanes, and test new casino games.

This method takes advantage of the Law of Large Numbers which says that as you rerun a random event over-and-over-and-over, your results become more and more predictable.

Result Count Percentage
210 70%
190 60%
110 32%
230 330%
320 40%
20 30%
10 20%

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This page was created by Tyler Auer of Math Fireworks. It may be used freely for any educational purposes. When possible, please let Tyler know you are using this page. It encourages him to make more!

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