For this activity, you will need the following materials:
- an 8 ½ inch x 11 inch sheet of paper
- a pencil and pencil sharpener
- a dime
- a geometry compass or set of cylindrical objects with diameters
of approximately 2 inches, 4 inches and 8 inches to trace
Follow these steps:
- Place the paper on the floor and trace the dime onto the center of the paper.
- Use a compass or set of circular objects to trace three additional circles around the dime. Make the circles 1, 2 and 4 inches in radius from the dime’s center. Tape the paper to the floor.
- Hold the pencil, sharpened tip down, about 6 feet above the dime. Drop the pencil onto the paper. Repeat this procedure 99 more times. Keep track of the number of times that the pencil hits the dime directly.
- Once you have recorded 100, count the total number of pencil marks within the dime’s area and within each circular band of the target. (You may wish to circle each mark once you have counted it to help you keep an accurate count.)
Write down your observations in your journal and answer the questions there. If you need help inserting images (sketched responses) into the journal, please see the inserting images document. Please post your journal entry to the Journal: Probability Activity assignment link. For information on how this assignment will be graded, please view the journal rubric.
As you progress through the unit, be on the lookout for how similar experiments throughout history have provided indirect but clear evidence about atomic structure.