Have students think through the steps of a racquetball simulation to help them create problem solving strategies.

  • Henry Walker’s Racquetball Simulation lab is available here.
    • There are links to readings, labs, and sample programs as well.
  • Students often have poor intuitions about the probability that a team will win in this simulation.
    • When you simulate 100 games of racquetball, if Team A has a 40% chance of winning a volley, Team A will only win about 7% of games.
    • Students may think this result is wrong but they may not have considered that one must win two volleys in a row to get a point.
      • Team A’s probability of scoring a point is (.4)^2 and Team B’s probability is (.6)^2. Team B is more than twice as likely to win a point.
      • When you extend this out to 15 points, the reality of the results become clear.
  • By having students think through the flow of the game, students will be encouraged to make good design choices and understand the probabilities.
  • There is a similar AP CS A Case Study module on this topic.

More about this tip

External Source

Interview with Henry Walker