Predictive Survey Results

You don't find many grey elephants in Denmark do you?

Elephant In Denmark

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.

Survey Results

Branches Branches

Denmark

Dominican Republic

Djibouti

Dubai (even though Dubai is not a country)

Others

Elephant

Eagle

Emu

Eel

Others

73%

6%

4%

3%

14%

68%

9%

9%

4%

10%

The following table shows how popular the starting numbers were. Numbers greater than 20 are not shown.

Chosen NumberFrequencyPercentage
271230%
323410%
42018%
531713%
6904%
71737%
8984%
9964%
10954%
11211%
12402%
13110%
1490%
15110%
1670%
1780%
18110%
1940%
200%

How do you spell that colour? The colour of the elephant!

Grey
87%
Gray
13%

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.

Mitchell, US

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"I took the survey and ended up with Denmark and chose an emu but then felt not so smart because I really didn't know if an emu was grey or white. So I switched to elephant and found out I was with the majority of others who chose elephant. I wonder how many of those switched from emu to elephant for the same reason. Does the model predict that?"

Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for those learning Mathematics anywhere in the world. Click here to enter your comments.

Apple

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