By using technology, students can conduct an experiment that quickly simulates a large number of random events. Much research has been done on students' conceptions and reasoning about probability (Jones et al. 2007). Recommendations for teaching probability have included just such use of concrete and digital manipulatives to simulate events as well as students' reflection on their initial predictions and analysis of their experiments and their results (NCTM 2000; Van de Walle et al. 2010). In fact, by using Excel® and Visual Basic to simulate coin flipping, students have been able to capitalize on these technological benefits to investigate, conceptualize, and refine their understanding of the law of large numbers.
Editor's note: See also Laurie H. Rubel, “Connecting Research to Teaching: Is 7/10 Always Equivalent to 700/1000?” MT September 2010 (vol. 104, no. 2, pp. 144-47).
Nicole R. Juersivich, firstname.lastname@example.org, teaches mathematics and mathematics education at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. Her interests include the use of technology to enhance student comprehension for learning and teaching of mathematics.