Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

Simulations

Simulations is a theme within reasoning about uncertainty. Links to relevant activities and resources are on the right hand side of this page. 

Research using calculator-based and computer-based simulations offers increasing evidence that teachers might adopt such tools to support students’ probabilistic understanding. A common aspect of all of these tools for simulation is that they give the student access to repeated trials. Teaching strategies in which results from around the class are merged to create larger data sets certainly have their use, but the number of trials needed to be confident that long-term effects can be perceived is often very large. Technology provides a means for conducting such large-scale experiments in acceptable time-scales.

Additionally, the power of technology can be harnessed to generate many different graphical and numerical representations in short time periods so that the visual feedback can help students to recognize weaknesses in their understanding.

Finally, technology supports exploration of the sample space. Physical objects are usually not amenable to investigation that involves changing the configuration of the sample space, whereas the malleability of virtual resources can facilitate such experimentation. This might be vital in coming to realise the connection between the sample space and the resulting distribution of results.

Activities and resources

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