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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Black Jack in Math class...NO WAY!

When students hear "probability" or "statistics" in a math class, most student will protest and say they cant do that type of math. My approach to a probability lesson is not let them know what they are learning, but to have them learn and play a card game, Black Jack!

If you do not know the full rules of Black Jack, you are able to find them here.

The following is a lesson plan outline that I created. I have taught is in a college level classroom, but not in a high school classroom. I believe the lesson might have to be changed according to your students.

Review: factions/decimal/percent relation 
-Write on board different fractions
- have students draw a picture, write the percentage, and write the decimal form of each fraction
- allow students to mark what answers they think are wrong and what answers they think are correct
Hand out the following table and allow the students to find answers in groups (you might have to reword some the chance column to meet the need of your students):

In the table below, assume that you are the only player and only a single deck of cards is being used such that we do not reshuffle the cards into the deck.
Chance of:
a red queen in either first two cards

two aces in either first two cards

a 21 in the first two cards

a 21 after the first card that is drawn is an 8

two “face” cards

two cards valued 2-9

two 10’s

Let the fun begin: Black Jack
- break the classroom up into smaller groups
- play a couple of "open hands" (all cards facing up) 
- have each student figure out the probability of busting if even another card base on the cards played at the table 
I created the following table for my students to use to keep track of their numbers: 

Total [of your two cards]
Probability of busting  
What Happened

The college students really enjoyed this lesson. I hope I am able to use it in the classroom or even a smaller version with maybe only five cards for younger students. 

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