Chances Are Yum

Science Process Skills

observing

communicating

inferring

applying

Materials (per participant)
• 9 chocolate chips, plain
• 1 mint-flavored chocolate chip
• 1 disposable cup
• paper and pencil

Doing the Activity
1. Explain to the participants that they will be learning about probability by tasting (or smelling) chocolate chips until they find the mint-flavored chip.
2. Give each individual a disposable cup. Have each participant put 9 chocolate chips and 1 mint-flavored chip in their cup. Ask them to shake the cup gently to mix the chips.
3. Have each participant taste (or smell) one chocolate chip at a time until the mint-flavored chip is found. Record the number of chips eaten before the mint-flavored chip was found.
4. Calculate the average number of chocolate chips tasted (or smelled) by the group before finding the mint-flavored one. this can be done by: 1) adding up the total number of chips eaten (or smelled) by each individual before the mint chip was discovered, then 2) divide that number by the number of participants.

Talking It Over
• How quickly did you find the mint chip? How quickly did other people in the room find the mint chip?
• How close were your findings to the group average? Could the data be skewed in any way?

Applying
Discuss what the probability of finding the mint-flavored chocolate chip is the first time... the second time... How risky is a one-in-ten chance? If 99 regular chocolate chips were in the cup along with only 1 mint-flavored chip, would the probability increase or decrease?

What's Happening
Probability or chance is the likelihood that something will happen. Risk is the probability of something happening which will cause damage, loss, illness, or injury. There is a risk that food will make us sick. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the risk of getting sick from food. Much of the effort to keep food safe is done while the food is being grown, manufactured, packaged, and trucked to grocery stores. At the grocery store, many steps are also taken to keep food safe. Other things must be done at home in order to keep food as safe as possible. However, food can never be risk-free. As with everything in life, there is some degree of risk that we will get sick from eating food.

More Challenges
• Explore the idea of probability in greater depth. Place 10 candy-coated chocolate pieces in a cup, making sure only one of them is red. Close your eyes and pick one candy; record the color and return the candy to the cup. Do this a total of 10 times, recording the color of the first candy selected each time. What are the chances of selecting a red candy from a cup which contains 9 non-red and 1 red candy?

Activity Source
Get A Jump on Germs: Making Food Safer, SERIES Project, 4-H Center, University of California- Davis, Davis, CA 95616-8599, (916) 752-8824 (Developed by the 4-H Youth Development Program at Washington State University).

IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
University Extension

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