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Investigating Relative Frequency

Year 9 Mathematics students were challenged to answer the question ‘When you drop your jam and bread, how often does it land jammy side down?’ by investigating the relative frequency of bread landing jam side up.

In small groups, students took their jammy bread and dropped it 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100 times. At first the results showed that jam side up was more likely, with a relative frequency of 0.58. Then as the number of test drops increased, the relative frequency tended toward 0.5, meaning it was equally likely to land jam down or up. This was the end of this experiment, but not the definitive answer to the question, as that depends on how it was dropped and other factors. In this experiment, the students allowed time for the bread to flip many times. As one student said, in real life accidents, the bread does not flip as much. This requires further experiment, so if your son or daughter is dropping bread and jam all over the kitchen don’t worry, they are just investigating mathematics!

Investigating Relative Frequency


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