The activity which prompted this survey is on our Mathemagic page. The instructions below are intended to be read out by the "magician":
The magician then says ""There aren't many grey elephants living in Denmark are there?""
Virtually everyone in the room will have thought of Denmark as their country and as elephant as their animal. Is this magic?
You could investigate the probability of this happening. Having first satisfied yourself that everyone will arrive at the letter D independently of their starting number. How many countries are there starting with D?
How many animals beginning with E? Of all the animals beginning with E how likely is a person to choose elephant? This survey attempts to answer this question.
Can you make up for yourself a similar trick (but not using Elephants from Denmark).
Finally a demonstration of tree diagrams can be used to explain the probabilities of these tricks working.
Dubai (even though Dubai is not a country)
The following table shows how popular the starting numbers were. Numbers greater than 20 are not shown.
How do you spell that colour? The colour of the elephant!
Here is the short URL of the survey that you could sent to other people: Transum.org/go/?to=Survey
The motivation for conducting this data collecting exercise is an email from a TV researcher saying that John Stossel would like to use the tree diagram for his show on Fox Business Network to be broadcast at 9pm on 4th December 2014. The probabilities on the original diagram were made-up numbers for illustration only and the request to use the diagram prompted Transum to collect real data and update the diagram.
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