Gambling

This task investigates various aspects of gambling. There are obvious ethical issues to consider here. It is important to note that this activity in no sense encourages gambling – in the same way that an activity about road accident rates would not encourage dangerous driving. In fact, by showing in some detail how ‘the house always wins’, this work may actually discourage gambling, or at least help students to develop a realistic assessment of the risks involved.

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Overview of task

This task investigates various aspects of gambling. There are obvious ethical issues to consider here. It is important to note that this activity in no sense encourages gambling – in the same way that an activity about road accident rates would not encourage dangerous driving. In fact, by showing in some detail how ‘the house always wins’, this work may actually discourage gambling, or at least help students to develop a realistic assessment of the risks involved.

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Strand

Statistics, Probability

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Prior knowledge

Students will need a good understanding of theoretical and experimental probability.

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Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

•AQA

•C&G

•Eduqas

•Pearson / Edexcel

•OCR

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Suggested approaches

It is important to introduce the work with a short discussion of the ethical questions outlined above; explain that although some students and their families may disapprove of gambling, we are investigating it in a sense of statistical enquiry. The supplied PowerPoint material has a sequence of activities, sufficient for about two lessons. Students will benefit from working in pairs or small groups.

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Resources/documentation

The PowerPoint presentation includes notes that should provide sufficient teacher guidance. ‘Betting odds’ contains sample data, and the spreadsheet ‘Roulette’ provides a simple digital simulation of one of the gambling games investigated.

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Relevant digital technologies

Students could develop their own spreadsheet simulations for roulette and other gambling games, perhaps using the supplied example as a starting point.

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Possible extensions

Students could investigate other games and gambling situations, e.g. the National Lottery, Premium Bonds, spread betting, etc. Or they could investigate broader aspects, such as the significance of gambling within the UK economy.

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Acknowledgement

Developed by Nicola Letts of the Duston School.