Experimental Probability: Definition & Predictions

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  • 0:00 Experimental Probability
  • 0:24 Flipping a Coin
  • 1:27 Rolling a Die & Picking a Card
  • 2:40 Real World
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you're going to learn about the concept of experimental probability and apply it to coins, dice, a deck of cards, and even real world scenarios.

Experimental Probability

Have you ever played with a deck of cards? If not, have you ever rolled a die? Or at the very least, I'm sure you've flipped a coin before! All of these can apply the concept of experimental probability, which is the ratio of the number of times an outcome occurs to the total number of times the activity is performed. Let's go over this concept using coins, decks, and dice!

Flipping a Coin

If you flip a coin, there are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. If you flip a coin 100 times, at least theoretically, chances are that heads will appear 50 times, or half the time. Meaning, our theoretical probability of flipping heads is ½ or 50%. But this may not occur in practice, in an actual experiment based on testing and observation.

Here's what I mean. Take out a coin for me. I'll wait. Okay, flip the coin 10 times, and jot down the number of times you get heads in this experiment. I did the experiment and got heads 7 out of 10 times. In my case, what is the experimental probability that a coin flip will yield heads? 7 out of 10, or 70% of the time. Maybe my coin isn't fair, or maybe it's just chance alone that yielded this result. However, if we were to flip a fair coin a 1,000 times, the experimental probabilities would come closer to matching the theoretical probabilities.

Rolling a Die and Picking a Card

Now, let's play with a die. On the screen we can see the die being rolled. In an experiment of 10 rolls of the die, a 3 appears 4 times. What is the experimental probability of rolling a 3? It's 4 out of 10, or 2/5, or 0.4, or 40%. What is the experimental probability of rolling any number other than a 3 in this case? Well, it's simply a matter of subtracting 4 from 10, to get 6 out of 10, or 60%.

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