May 20, 2015

This lesson teaches students how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty by using decision trees. It is aimed for high school kids with a minimal background in probability; the students only need to know how to calculate the probability of two uncorrelated events both occurring (ie flipping 2 heads in a row). Over the course of this lesson, students will learn about the role of uncertainty in decision making, how to make and use a decision tree, how to use limiting cases to develop an intuition, and how this applies to everyday life. The video portion is about fifteen minutes, and the whole lesson, including activities, should be completed in about forty-five minutes. Some of the activities call for students to work in pairs, but a larger group is also okay, especially for the discussion centered activities. The required materials for this lesson are envelopes, small prizes, and some things similar in size and shape to the prize.

Full lesson from MIT Blossoms

- Mathematics > General
- Mathematics > Geometry

- Grade 9
- Grade 10

Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Model with mathematics.

Use appropriate tools strategically.

Attend to precision.

Look for and make use of structure.

(+) Use probabilities to make fair decisions (e.g., drawing by lots, using a random number generator).

(+) Analyze decisions and strategies using probability concepts (e.g., product testing, medical testing, pulling a hockey goalie at the end of a game).