# Lesson Plan

## Spinning Nickels

Main Subject Area: Science

Duration of Lesson:  90 minutes

Keywords:

• Data Analysis
• Graphing
• Nickel
• Scientific Data

Brief Description:

Students will make predictions to figure out the probability of a spun nickel landing on either heads or tails. Students will then test their predictions through experimentation.

National Standard(s):

• Physical science
• Science and technology

• Data Analysis and Probability
• Technology productivity tools

Objectives:

Students will make predictions and test their predictions.

Students will record their predictions and represent them graphically.

Students will write conclusions from their experiment.

Materials (online):

Materials (offline):

A nickel for every student

Graph paper to record data

Coins Used in Lesson:

Currently circulating U.S. Nickels

Procedures (online):

Procedures (offline):

1. Distribute a nickel to every student. Ask them to make some simple observations about the nickel.

2. Ask the students the following questions to get them thinking about the experiment they will perform. Where do they use a coin toss to make decision? Do you think a coin toss is fair? What type of coin do they usually use in a coin toss? Do you think tossing a nickel would be a fair way to make a decision? Do you think spinning a nickel would give the same results?

3. Tell the students that they will each be spinning a nickel 50 times to see if spinning a nickel is a fair way to make a decision. They will first write down their predictions. Do they think they will be close to 50% heads and 50% tails?

4. Next they will perform their experiment and record their results. They can make a simple chart on graph paper. Each student will need ample room to spin their nickels. It is best if the nickel can fall naturally and not hit any other objects while spinning.

5. Have each student record on a class chart the number of times their coin fell on the head side. Make sure the chart is large so the entire class can see.

6. Have each student record the combined class data next to their own data on their own charts.

7. Have the students create a graph showing the frequency for the number of heads. The range would be from 0 to 50. 0 and 50 should have a very low frequency, 25 should have a very high frequency.

8. Based on the frequency chart they created, the students should write their conclusions. Make sure they include if they think spinning a nickel is a fair way to make a decision.

Assessment / Evaluation:

Students can be evaluated based on their predictions, data, graph and conclusions.

Differentiated Learning Options:

Students can use a spreadsheet to record their results. If you have a class spreadsheet created then students can enter their data and the results can be calculated immediately. Student can use the graphing features of the spreadsheet program to create their graphs.