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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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collected by Paul and Vicki

Probability Games
Dice games, coin tossing, and spinners can easily be played online as well as off. Today's collection of probability games includes both kinds of activities, but with an emphasis on virtual online games.
Between Waters: Probability Games
This unassuming list of probability games lets you virtually toss a coin, roll a die, and play a Monty Hall game, where the host presents you with a choice of three doors. “Behind one door is a new car. Behind the others are goats. The host knows where the car is and has scripted the scenario in advance.” The author cleverly adds that this a demonstration only. He is not giving away any cars or goats! Should you switch doors after the host shows you a goat behind one of the remaining doors? Play the game and figure it out.

Johnnie’s Math Page: Probability
The probability section at Johnnie’s Math Page consists of links to thirteen games at other sites. They include dice games, coin games, and spinner games. My favorites are Ski Outcome and What’s in Santa’s Sack? Ski Outcome includes a video introducing the science of avalanche prediction, and a printable worksheet to keep track of the outcomes of the interactive game. What’s in Santa’s Sack is a Christmas probability game that asks you to determine what presents Santa has in his bag, based on his taking one gift out at a time, showing it to you, and then returning it to the bag.

Mathwire: One Die Toss
These eight die-toss activities are designed to be done (gasp!) offline, with a real die. For those looking for online games, at the bottom of the page are links to interactive versions of three of the experiments. Each activity includes printable directions (in PDF) with printable game boards where needed. Activities include Game of Pig, Car Race, and the Great Cookie Race. “Great Cookie Race challenges students to predict how many chips they will need to make sure each cookie has 8 chips. In this simulation, students toss a die, make a chip on that cookie and continue tossing and marking until each cookie has at least 8 chips.”

Mr. Nussbaum: Probability Fair
Mr. Nussbaum (a fourth grade teacher from Virginia) has put together a virtual county fair, with six games of chance. “Students will learn the practical application of the concept of probability by playing carnival games. The object is to win as many tickets as possible.” With the tickets you win spinning the wheel (choose the colors with the highest probability of winning), you can play additional games such as the Shell Game, Plinko or Duck Pluck. There is a link to more math games at the bottom of the page.

Shodor: Interactivate: Activities
There isn’t a direct link to the probability games, so from this main menu, you’ll need to click on Probability in the horizontal navigation menu. These seventeen interactive games include classics such as Simple and Advanced Monty Hall, Racing Game with One Die, and a Coin Toss. These Shodor games are my probability pick of the day because of the quantity and quality of the games. In addition to the games, each includes resources for both the teacher and the student (called the Learner) with links to more activities, worksheets, and discussion questions.

Active and Passive Voice
The passive voice is frowned upon by many teachers. Or should I say, many teachers frown upon the passive voice? Today's sites illustrate the differences between active and passive voice, bust some common grammar myths, and will help you write with more clarity.

Elements of Style: Elementary Principles of Composition
"Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White is one of my favorite books on writing. This online edition is the one Strunk published privately in 1918 as a Cornell professor. In 1959, White (one of Strunk's students) revised it and re-published it as a co-author. Of interest today is item eleven, which teaches us although the passive voice is called for in some situations, the "habitual use of the active voice makes for forcible writing."

Guide to Grammar and Writing: The Passive Voice
The Guide to Grammar and Writing gives us detailed examples of the passive voice. For example, only verbs that take objects, known as transitive verbs, can be used in passive voice. Be sure to take the quiz (link at the bottom of the page) on revising passive constructions. "WARNING! Some of these sentences do not use passive verbs or are better off left in the passive, so this exercise will also engage your attention in recognizing passive constructions and in using them when appropriate."

OWL at Purdue: Active and Passive Voice
This seven-section resource from OWL at Purdue University has a table of contents at the bottom of every page. To print all seven sections at once, click on the Full Resource for Printing button in the green nav bar just below the Summary. This lesson offers illustrated examples of active voice, showing you the subject acting upon the object (arrow points to the right) versus the passive voice, where the arrow from the object points to the subject on the left. My favorite click is the Further Suggestions section which offers tips such as "Avoid starting a sentence in active voice and then shifting to passive."
University of Victoria Study Zone: The Choking Dog: Exercise on Passive Voice
This auto-correcting quiz from the Study Zone at University of Victoria provides ten opportunities to change sentences from active to passive, and vice a versa. If you are stuck, the computer offers correct answers (just click the "Show Me" link.) Of course, there's always more than one correct way to structure a sentence, so just use the computer answer as an example. The quiz sentences are from a common urban legend called the Choking Dog you can read here:

UNC Writing Center: Passive Voice
This handout from the University of North Carolina Writing starts out by busting common passive voice myths. Here are a few. "Use of the passive voice constitutes a grammatical error." "Any use of "to be" (in any form) constitutes the passive voice." Great stuff! There is also an important section on the use of passive voice in Scientific Writing. "The rationale for using the passive voice in scientific writing is that it achieves ‘an objective tone' – for example, by avoiding the first person."

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Students And Teachers Against Racism announces their new website that offers insight into the Native American perspective to teachers and educators.

Changing Winds Advocacy Center
Through presentations, classroom sessions, curriculum, fund raising, charitable works, and multi-media efforts, we seek to raise public awareness of the stereotyping, discrimination, racism and other unique situations facing Native Americans.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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