Friday, August 10, 2012

SKUNK: An Awesome Math Probability Game

Every year when I'm teaching data analysis and probability, I introduce the dice game SKUNK. Students love this game, that is part chance, part strategy, and all probability. The game is very simple:

You have two six sided dice, and each student has a sheet of paper labeled SKUNK across the top, with lines separating each letter.

Roll the two dice, and students take the total and write down the points they just got. Here's where it gets interesting. You will ask anyone if they're going to take the points and leave the round. Students who take the points are safe, and get the points they had. Then you keep rolling for the students who are still in. Here's the fun part. If you roll a 1 on either dice, any student still playing gets zero points for that round. If you roll snake eyes, anyone still in that round is out of the game with no points.

This is a great game that students love. They love to play the odds. I explain to them the odds of rolling a one each time, and we discuss the probabilities involved.

It's a fun game to play around high stakes testing time, because kids can play it for hours.

I was about to type out the rules and put them in my Google Drive, but, I lucked out. Math Illuminations already has this:

Math Illuminations SKUNK Lesson Plan

Math Illuminations SKUNK Game Sheet (pdf)

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