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The Monty Hall Problem as a Class Activity Using Clickers
1.Ori Brafman, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, 1st ed. (Doubleday, New York, 2008).
2.“Ask Marilyn” Column, PARADE magazine, p. 16 (Sept. 2, 1990).
3.“Ask Marilyn” Column, PARADE magazine, p. 25 (Dec. 2, 1990).
4.“Ask Marilyn” Column, PARADE magazine, p. 12 (Feb. 17, 1991).
5.J. P. Morgan, N. R. Chaganty, R. C. Dahiya, M. J. Doviak, “Let's make a deal: The player's dilemma,” Am. Stat. 45, 284–287 (Nov. 1991).
7.John Tierney, “Behind Monty Hall's doors: Puzzle, debate and answer?” New York Times, Sec. 1, p. 1 (July 21, 1991).
10.The TV show “Numb3rs” also featured the problem in the final episode of the 2004–2005 season.
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Demonstrating probabilistic outcomes using real-time data is especially well-suited to larger lecture classes where one can generate large data sets easily. The difficulty comes in quickly collecting, analyzing, and displaying the information. With the advent of wireless polling technology (clickers), this difficulty is removed. In this paper we describe an activity developed in one of our physics classes to test one of the classic cases of probability in popular culture, The Monty Hall Problem. Using clickers, a paper handout, and stickers, one can easily probe the class opinion on the outcome and then vividly and definitively test it. At the end of the activity, the students have confronted through direct experience the often counterintuitive nature of probability.
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