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The pot contains 10 counters which are being randomly removed and replaced. How many of each colour do you think are in the pot?

## A Mathematics Lesson Starter Of The Day

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Topics: Starter | Data Handling | Probability

• Dylan H, Charnwood Primary Year 6
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• It was a good task and very challenging at the same time.
• Mr Lunnon, Bluecoat Academy
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• Can you remove/give the option to remove the comment "the pot contains 10 counters....." please. I like to use this for a wide range of activities and have to tell pupils to ignore that statement! Thanks.

[Transum: A button has been added above Mr Lunnon.]
• Phill O'Donnell, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
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• Hi, great starter and opener. It would be really useful to have a pause button!

[Transum: A pause button has been added above. Please note that you can also vary the total number of counters in the pot and the speed of the picking using the controls at the bottom of this page.]
• Alison Tanner, Darrick Wood Juniors
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• Love this starter, but for those children who find it harder to grasp a concept I'd love the abiity to see inside the pot!

[Transum: Good idea Alison. That will be built into the next update of this page.]
• M. Smith, Seaford
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• Can you please provide a solution to this starter? We have had a variety of answers and lots of discussion.

[Transum: Glad to hear that there has been lots of discussion. Answers are only available to teachers when they are signed in and will appear lower down this page.]
• Mr. L.J.Jackson, Saint Bede's Redhill
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• Could you build in a table of results? With the idea that the more results you collect the more reliable your relative frequency will be?
• The Math Book,
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• In his book 'Ars Conjectandi', Bernoulli estimates the proportion of white balls in an urn filled with an unknown number of black and white balls. By drawing balls from the urn and 'randomly' replacing a ball after each draw, he estimates the proportion of white balls by the proportion of balls drawn that are white. By doing this enough times, he obtains any desired accuracy for the estimate.

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.
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This starter has scored a mean of 3.1 out of 5 based on 881 votes.

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## Answers

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[Notes for Teacher: The film will go on for ever! It shows a red, green or blue counter being taken from the pot by random selection but in proportion to the number of red, green and blue counters in the pot. Students might make a tally chart to see the relative numbers of counters being pulled out of the pot then divide 10 in the same ratio.]

Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

## Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

## How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

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## Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

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## Apple iPad Pro

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent gift for anyone.

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Before giving an iPad as a Christmas gift you could add a link to iPad Maths to the home screen.

## Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

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Keep the Maths in Christmaths with this reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

## The Story Of Maths [DVD]

The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

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## Christmas Maths

This book provides a wealth of fun activities with a Christmas theme. Each photocopiable worksheet is matched to the Numeracy Strategy and compatible with the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines. This series is designed for busy teachers in the late Autumn term who are desperate for materials that are relevant and interesting and that can be completed with minimun supervision.

All the activities are suitable for use by class teachers, supply teachers, SEN teachers and classroom assistants and cover topics such as 'How many partridges did the true love give all together?' and 'Filling a sleigh with presents by rolling a dice!'. Children will have lots of fun working through the Christmas Maths themes but also gain valuable skills along the way.

A great source of ideas and another reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

## A Compendium Of Mathematical Methods

How many different methods do you know to solve simultaneous equations? To multiply decimals? To find the nth term of a sequence?

A Compendium of Mathematical Methods brings together over one hundred different approaches from classrooms all over the world, giving curious mathematicians the opportunity to explore fascinating methods that they've never before encountered.

If you teach mathematics to any age group in any country, you are guaranteed to learn lots of new things from this delightful book. It will deepen your subject knowledge and enhance your teaching, whatever your existing level of expertise. It will inspire you to explore new approaches with your pupils and provide valuable guidance on explanations and misconceptions. more...

## Math with Bad Drawings

I had been tutoring the wonderful Betsy for five years. When the day came for our last ever session together before the end of her Year 13, I received this beautiful book as a gift of appreciation.

This a very readable book by Ben Orlin. I'm really enjoying the humour in the writing and the drawings are great.

Ben Orlin answers maths' three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that mathematics should belong to everyone. more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

## Maths T-Shirts

Your access to the majority of the Transum resources continues to be free but you can help support the continued growth of the website by doing your Amazon shopping using the links on this page. Below is an Amazon search box and some items I have chosen and recommend to get you started. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases which helps pay for the upkeep of this website.

 Teacher, do your students have access to computers?Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons? Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Here a concise URL for a version of this page without the comments.

Transum.org/go/?Start=March18

Here is the URL which will take them to a student probability activity.

Transum.org/go/?to=pin

Change the number of counters in the pot:

You can vary the speed of the animation by sliding the handle below to the left or to the right.

## Extension

### Bertrand’s Paradox

We ask for the probability that a number, integer or fractional, commensurable or incommensurable, randomly chosen between 0 and 100, is greater than 50. The answer seems evident: the number of favourable cases is half the number of possible cases. The probability is 1/2.

Instead of the number, however, we can choose its square. If the number is between 50 and 100, its square will be between 2,500 and 10,000.

The probability that a randomly chosen number between 0 and 10,000 is greater than 2,500 seems evident: the number of favourable cases is three quarters of the number of possible cases. The probability is 3/4.

The two problems are identical. Why are the two answers different?

Joseph Bertrand, Calcul des probabilités, 1889 (translation by Sorin Bangu) presented by Futility Closet.

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