P2-01: Using Pig Dice to Explore Probability, Simulation, Distributions, and Informal Inference

By Laura Hildreth and Jennifer Green (Montana State University)


The Game of Pig is a dice game that has numerous variations (c.f. Neller and Presser, 2004; Neller et al., 2006), such as the commercial variation Pass the Pigs, which have been used extensively to teach concepts in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. We present an extension of the Game of Pig adapted from Hancock et al. (2010) that was originally designed as a workshop for girls between 11 and 14 years of age to encourage participation in STEM fields (Hildreth and Green, 2016). We provide a demonstration and explanation of this activity with the goal of showing how it can be used to teach several fundamental statistical concepts such as probability, simulation, distributions, and informal inference. In this activity, students must collect data and use it to justify how they choose to allocate points to the different positions a pig die lands. They also use simulated sampling distributions to make informal inferences about how long their games are expected to last. Through the activity, students come to recognize the value in using data to make decisions. The worksheet and R code associated with this activity will be made available to participants.

Poster - Laura Hildreth and Jennifer Green.pdf