Food: The Probability of a Kiss

Summary: Through generating, collecting, displaying, and analyzing data, students are given the opportunity to explore a variety of descriptive statistical techniques and develop an understanding of the distinction between theoretical, subjective, and empirical (or experimental) probabilities. These concepts are developed with activities using Hershey KissesTM and may be extended to introduce the sampling distribution of a sample proportion. The activities are described in M. Richardson and S. Haller. (2002), “What is the Probability of a Kiss? (It's Not What You Think),” Journal of Statistics Education, 10(3),

Specifics: The main activity uses Hershey’s Kisses to explore the concept of probability. Three specific sub-activities are performed such as: 

  1. Students explore the empirical probability that a plain Hershey’s Kiss will land on its flat base when spilled from a cup. 
  2. Students make predictions about the probability of an almond Hershey’s Kisses landing on its base when spilled from a cup, after having experimented with the plain Kisses.
  3. Students explore the properties of the distribution of a sample proportion to see whether the percentages of base landings have a specified distribution and whether they think that the number of Kisses tossed affects the shape or the mean and standard deviation of this distribution.

(Resource photo illustration by Barbara Cohen, 2020; this summary compiled by Bibek Aryal)

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Author Name: 
M. Richardson and S. Haller
Source Code Available: 
Source Code Not Available
Material Type: 
Free for All

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