Darius Washington – Free Throws For The Win

Will Darius Washington score enough free throws to force overtime or a win?

Ontario Alignment By Grade
Ontario Alignment By Overall Expectation
CCSS Alignment By Grade
CCSS Alignment By Standard

Will Darius Washington score enough free throws to force overtime or a win? That is the question that John Scammell poses on his blog when the Memphis Tigers’ player steps up to the line with no time left on the clock to take the 3 biggest shots of his life; down by 2 points against the Louisville Cardinals.

Note that some of the videos on John’s site weren’t working last I checked, so I found some working ones from YouTube posted by Jim Pardun. Thanks, Jim!

Act 1: Sparking Curiosity

Show this video.

You can do a notice and wonder here. Have students share out their thinking.

The videos captured from the television broadcast announces both Washington’s season free-throw success percentage of 72% and for the game, 2 out of 3 shots. Students can discuss which probability they believe makes the most sense in this case and whether making adjustments based on their own subjective probability would be appropriate when considering the pressure he is under.

Act 2: Reveal Information

Show the Act 2, Part 1 Video:

Act 2, Part 2 Video:

Act 3: Revealing the Solution

Fuel Sense Making

Not only can you have discussions about theoretical, experimental, and subjective probabilities, but the introduction of counting techniques for finding probability and discovering the Binomial Discrete Probability Distribution are also huge benefits of this problem.

Scammell also clearly outlines the 7-steps he typically uses when introducing this problem while also making it clear that the students have no prior knowledge of Binomial Probabilities. I personally think you can do this in younger grades without going as far as binomial just using tree diagrams and logic.

Best of all, he has the original video cut into individual files for download that eliminate any of the hints or clues that the title of the original YouTube Video might suggest.

How did it go?

How did the problem work out in your classroom? Leave a comment below to let us know!





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About Kyle Pearce

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.


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