# 3.6 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses

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1 wwwck12org Chapter 3 Introduction to Discrete Random Variables 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses Here you ll simulate coin tosses using technology to calculate experimental probability Then you ll compare your results to the results you would get from calculating the theoretical probability What is the probability that when you toss a coin it will come up heads? If you tossed a coin 100 times and kept a record of your results would it be the same as the probability you expected? Would heads come up exactly 50% of the time? Watch This First watch this video to learn about theoretical and experimental coin tosses MEDIA Click image to the left for more content CK-12 Foundation: Chapter3TheoreticalandExperimentalCoinTossesA Then watch this video to see some examples MEDIA Click image to the left for more content CK-12 Foundation: Chapter3TheoreticalandExperimentalCoinTossesB Guidance In an example in a previous concept, we were tossing 2 coins If you were to repeat this experiment 100 times, or if you were going to toss 10 coins 50 times, these experiments would be very tiring and take a great deal of time On the TI-84 calculator, there are applications built in to determine the probability of such experiments In this section, we will look at how you can use your graphing calculator to calculate probabilities for larger trials and draw the corresponding histograms On the TI-84 calculator, there are a number of possible simulations you can do You can do a coin toss, spin a spinner, roll dice, pick marbles from a bag, or even draw cards from a deck Press and choose Prob Sim to see these simulations APPS 107

2 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses wwwck12org After pressing ENTER, you will have the following screen appear, with Toss Coins as the first option You can also use the randbin function on your calculator to simulate the tossing of a coin The randbin function is used to produce experimental values for discrete random variables You can find the randbin function using: MATH (PRB) ( 7 ) If you wanted to toss 4 coins 10 times, you would enter the command below: 108

3 wwwck12org Chapter 3 Introduction to Discrete Random Variables The list that is produced contains the count of heads resulting from each set of 4 coin tosses If you use the right arrow ( ), you can see how many times from the 10 trials you actually had 4 heads To try other types of probability simulations, you can use the Texas Instruments Activities Exchange Look up simple probability simulations on Let s try an example using the Toss Coins simulation Example A A fair coin is tossed 50 times What is the theoretical probability and the experimental probability of tossing tails on the fair coin? To calculate the theoretical probability, we need to remember that the probability of getting tails is 1 2, or: P(tails) = 1 2 = 050 To find the experimental probability, we need to run the Toss Coins simulation in the probability simulator We could also actually take a coin and flip it 50 times, each time recording if we get heads or tails If we follow the same keystrokes to get into the Prob Sim app, we get to the main screen Choose Toss Coins and then choose SET by pressing ZOOM 109

4 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses wwwck12org Choose OK by pressing GRAPH and go back to the main screen Then choose TOSS by pressing WINDOW To find the frequency, we need to press the arrow to view the frequency for the tossing experiment We see the frequency of tails is 30 Now we can calculate the experimental probability P(tails) = = 060 Example B What if the fair coin is tossed 100 times? What is the experimental probability? Is the experimental probability getting closer to the theoretical probability? To find the experimental probability for this example, we need to run the Toss Coins simulation in the probability simulator again You could also, like in Example A, actually take a coin and flip it 100 times, each time recording if you get heads or tails You can see how the technology is going to make this experiment take a lot less time Choose Toss Coins and then choose SET by pressing 110 ZOOM

5 wwwck12org Chapter 3 Introduction to Discrete Random Variables Choose OK by pressing GRAPH and go back to the main screen Then choose TOSS by pressing WINDOW To find the frequency, we need to press the arrow to view the frequency for the tossing experiment Notice that the frequency of tails is 59 Now you can calculate the experimental probability P(tails) = = 059 With 50 tosses, the experimental probability of tails was 60%, and with 100 tosses, the experimental probability of tails was 59% This means that the experimental probability is getting closer to the theoretical probability of 50% You can also use this same program to toss 2 coins or 5 coins Actually, you can use this simulation to toss any number of coins any number of times 111

6 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses wwwck12org Example C 2 fair coins are tossed 10 times What is the theoretical probability of both coins landing on heads? What is the experimental probability of both coins landing on heads? The theoretical probability of getting heads on the first coin is 1 2 Flipping the second coin, the theoretical probability of getting heads is again 1 2 The overall theoretical probability is ( 1 2 2) for 2 coins, or: P(2H) = ( ) 1 2 P(2H) = 2 P(2H) = 1 4 To determine the experimental probability, let s go to the probability simulator Again, you can also do this experiment manually by taking 2 coins, tossing them 10 times, and recording your observations Choose Toss Coins and then choose SET by pressing ZOOM Choose OK by pressing GRAPH and go back to the main screen Then choose TOSS by pressing WINDOW 112

7 wwwck12org Chapter 3 Introduction to Discrete Random Variables Find the frequency of getting 2 heads (2H) The frequency is equal to 4 Therefore, for 2 coins tossed 10 times, there were 4 times that both coins landed on heads You can now calculate the experimental probability P(2H) = 4 10 P(2H) = 040 or 40% Points to Consider How is the calculator a useful tool for calculating probabilities in discrete random variable experiments? How are these experimental probabilities different from what you would expect the theoretical probabilities to be? When can the 2 types of probability possibly be equal? Guided Practice You are in math class Your teacher asks what the probability is of obtaining 5 heads if you were to toss 15 coins a Determine the theoretical probability for the teacher b Use the TI calculator to determine the actual probability for a trial experiment of 10 trials Answer: a Let s calculate the theoretical probability of getting 5 heads in the 15 tosses In order to do this type of calculation, let s bring back the factorial function from an earlier concept Numerator (Top) In the example, you want to have 5 H s and 10 T s Our favorable outcomes would be HHHHHTTTTTTTTTT, with the H s and T s coming in any order The number of favorable outcomes would be: number of tosses! number of favorable outcomes = number of heads! number of tails! number of favorable outcomes = 15! 5! 10! number of favorable outcomes = ( ) ( ) number of favorable outcomes = number of favorable outcomes =

8 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses wwwck12org Denominator (Bottom) The number of possible outcomes = 2 15 The number of possible outcomes = 32,768 Now you just divide the numerator by the denominator: P(5 heads) = P(5 heads) = Therefore, the theoretical probability would be 916% of getting 5 heads when tossing 15 coins b To calculate the experimental probability, let s use the randbin function on the TI-84 calculator From the list, you can see that you only have 5 heads 1 time in the 10 trials Therefore, the experimental probability can be calculated as follows: 114 P(5 heads) = 1 10 = 10%

9 wwwck12org Chapter 3 Introduction to Discrete Random Variables Practice 1 Use the randbin function on your calculator to simulate tossing 5 coins 25 times to determine the probability of getting 2 tails 2 Use the randbin function on your calculator to simulate tossing 10 coins 50 times to determine the probability of getting 4 heads 3 Calculate the theoretical probability of getting 3 heads in 10 tosses of a coin 4 Find the experimental probability using technology of getting 3 heads in 10 tosses of 3 coins 5 Calculate the theoretical probability of getting 8 heads in 12 tosses of a coin 6 Calculate the theoretical probability of getting 7 heads in 14 tosses of a coin 3 coins were tossed 500 times using technology 7 According to the following screen, what is the experimental probability of getting 0 heads? 8 According to the following screen, what is the experimental probability of getting 1 head? 9 According to the following screen, what is the experimental probability of getting 2 heads? 115

10 36 Theoretical and Experimental Coin Tosses wwwck12org 10 According to the following screen, what is the experimental probability of getting 3 heads? Summary This chapter covers discrete random variables and probability distributions Discrete random variables represent the number of distinct values that can be counted of an event Discrete means distinct values like a number of cards as opposed to continuous distribution like amount of water A probability distribution is a table, a graph, or a chart that shows you all the possible values of a discrete random variable and the probabilities of each Binomial distributions are a particular case of getting X successes in n trials If a is the number of successes, p is the probability of the event occurring, and q is the probability of the event not occurring, the binomial probability is: P(X = a) = n C a p a q (n a) Multinomial distributions are a further case where there are outcomes beyond success and failure If n is the number of trials, p is the probability for each possible outcome, and k is the number of possible outcomes, the multinomial probability is: P = n! n 1!n 2!n 3!n k! (p 1 n 1 p 2 n 2 p 3 n 3 p k n k ) The chapter concludes with notes on using a graphing calculator when solving these problems 116

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