In this activity, students toss a penny and a dime and record whether the outcome is HH, TT, or HT and which coin is heads or tails. Students cut apart their results and add them to the class results to create a class pictograph which can be analyzed and compared to the expected outcomes. Students analyze the results to determine if the game is fair or unfair.
It is important to use two different coins so that students see that the coins matching (HH or TT) and the coins not matching (HT or TH) are equally likely outcomes. Students often respond initially that the game is unfair because the player who wins when the coins match has two chances to win while the other player only has one chance. Using two different coins and recording the results of both coins helps students dispel this initial misconception as they analyze the graph results and create a tree diagram for the event.
Download Heads & Tails Data Collection which includes the student recording sheet and directions for creating a class graph.