Opinion on school project

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Clevelandmo, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    My son, a 6th grader, has to do a math fair project. He requested to do a project on black jack - the rules, strategies, and card counting. It relates to math as much as, if not more than, many of the topics suggested by the school. His math teacher thought his topic was cool but the department head said "no" since it relates to gambling. BTW, one of the suggested topics was game strategies.

    My husband plans to contact the department head and complain. His reasoning is gambling is legal, poker is on TV all the time, a movie was made about counting cards, and black jack strategies are a good math exercise in probability theory and its applications.

    At first I agreed with the dept head. It does relate to gambling and that might be too much for a 6th grade project, but now I'm not so sure.

    Any words of wisdom from the FUSA wise?
     
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  2. FulhamAg

    FulhamAg New Member

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    Apr 5, 2008
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    San Antonio, Texas
    If you subscribe to the theory that you choose your battles, I'd skip this one and go with the dept head this time. There are plenty of valid (non-gambling) probability examples he could go with.

    Heck, make it FFC related. :banana:
     
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  3. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2005
    FA is dead on... you have to choose battles and build that 'reason-capital'.

    Since there is somewhat a problem with juvenile gambling, including on-line.

    It's a matter of age-appropriate. Another project might also be probability of teen pregnancy in single encounter based on fem cycle / male swimmer motility and population.
     
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  4. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    I remember a JHS friend of mine being turned down by using dice to show probability -- despite the fact that the teacher initially okayed it. This was 1960.

    I agree with Ag and 'fog. But I DEPLORE restricting the options that an inquiring mind can choose among.
     
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  5. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

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    Sep 13, 2007
    Okay, consider this.

    To me, pick your battles refers to raising kids. My husband doesnt mind having as many battles with this math diva as he has to.

    Kids today play all sorts of video and hand held games that relate to gambling - wouldnt it be nice for them to understand some of the math behind these games.

    This project spans almost 2 months and in the end they have to give a presentation. It would be great if the kids got to learn about and present something that actually iterests them.

    They are required to use three different types of information sources so interviewing an expert is a good option to have as a source. We are friends with the guys who were the subject of the movie 21 and the author of Bringing Down the House. Our son would be able to interview them; I think that will make it more interesting for him and the students listening to his presentation.
     
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  6. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Active Member

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    Nov 24, 2007
    I say do the report anyway. If its done well enough the school will have no choice, but to accept it.
     
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  7. Spencer

    Spencer New Member

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    St. Paul, MN
    You know those guys? I heard the movie butchered it(when do they not) but that is a great book!
     
    #7
  8. dtwondough

    dtwondough New Member

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    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Denver
    I'll start by saying that I don't have any children.

    But I have to agree with Mo's husband. The children are already exposed to gambling by the games that are available to them. Why not let them do a project to understand the reality of gambling. It's probably something they'll remember as they get older and won't be as likely to begin gambling at an early age.

    of course it could backfire, think they have it all figured out and be bankrupt at 18.
     
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  9. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

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    Sep 13, 2007
    They were in the same fraternity house as my husband and they still do a fantasy football league together every year. We have not read the book or seen the movie but from what we've been told they are both mostly fiction. The book's main character is based upon one of our friends, Jeff Ma, but the other characters are just made up from various elements of the other team members and thin air. Also, lots of stuff that happened in the book and movie, never actually happened (or so I've been told).

    It is still a pretty cool story, especially for a bunch of college kids. My husband went with them a couple of times on trips that were comped by the casinos. I went with them once. I tried to make them look rich and ordered drinks to hide the fact that they were not allowed to drink - there were some flaws in the investors' strategy
     
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  10. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    I like your husband, too, Mo. There are too few people genuinely excited by math [I NEVER was]. We shouldn't discourage exploration and research and intellectual growth.

    You guys will know what's best to do.
     
    #10
  11. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

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    Sep 13, 2007
    I related your feedback to my husband - he wrote a letter asking the math diva to reconsider her position anyway. Thanks for the input.

    'Fog, as is often the case, I dont quite get what you meant. You cant actually think doing a project on the risk of pregnancy and the female cycle is actually better - now that is some real gambling
     
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  12. richardhkirkando

    richardhkirkando New Member

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    Aug 21, 2006
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    My stats professors in college quite often used gambling-related examples to explain concepts. It just makes sense, and is something people relate to.
     
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  13. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Cleveland OH
    My brother plays poker and never understood probability until he learned about pot odds versus implied odds, or something like that. He ain't bad, better than me, that's for sure.

    FWIW, I wonder if this is a battle worth fighting, but math is math and too few people are fired up by it. If it takes gambling, well, so be it. Some poker books out there read like calculus textbooks.
     
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  14. stlouisbrad

    stlouisbrad Active Member

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    Nov 24, 2007
    I'm not sure how Ohio schools are set up, but in Missouri a portion of the casino revenue has to go towards schools. It would be hilarious if they said you could use gambling as a topic, but a significant portion of the school districts budget was in theory funded by gambling.
     
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  15. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2005
    Yes, Brad.. Ohio is the same. Except we've never approved casinos. Of course there's just never enough lotto/gambling revenue to satisfy the need, is there.

    I'm in the same boat... never did well at math. Reason: Too abstract .. until I had the need. So, naturally, I end up as electronic hardware engineer. All I needed was a cheat sheet/book with all the basic electrical formulas and a math calculator.
    Or a spreadsheet.

    And, later, coworkers who WERE good at math.

    So... yeah, anything that promotes math skills including using it with 'sex education' as I proposed, above. They could extrapolate the chances of teen pregnancy into lifetime income/earnings expectations..
    8)
     
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  16. CarolinaTim

    CarolinaTim New Member

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    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    The Triangle
    Speaking of income, Jim Goodnight did his doctoral dissertation on the odds of blackjack. When to bet, hold, double down, etc. He went from being a statistics professor at NCSU to founding SAS, INC., which stands for statistical analysis software. He's now the richest man in NC, and in the top 30 nationally. Maybe that story will inspire your child.
     
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