Lottery Strategy: An activity for new undergraduate students to introduce and reinforce introductory statistical concepts

Salim Neil Khan


Most university mathematics courses involve the students studying a statistics module in their first year. However, depending on which modules they took at A-level, they arrive at university with varying degrees of interest and ability in statistics. This article presents a classroom activity that introduces and reinforces introductory probability concepts to help prepare and engage the students for the statistics that they will encounter on their course. In the activity, the students consider and contrast two different strategies for selecting numbers for a lottery, in order to conclude which is best under which circumstances. It comprises a mixture of experimentation using a lottery machine, analysis using probability theory, and simulation using computers.


Practical Activity, Lottery, Probability, Statistics, Simulation.

Full Text:



Cole, J.S., 2015. A-level Mathematics Options – Views of Secondary-level Teachers. In: IMA (Institute of Mathematics and its Applications), 8th IMA Conference on Mathematical Education of Engineers, Loughborough, United Kingdom, 20 April 2015, IMA. Available at: [Accessed 19 May 2016].

Cox, S.J., Daniell, G.J and Nicole, D.A., 1998. Using Maximum Entropy to Double One’s Expected Winnings in the UK National Lottery. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series D, 47(4), pp.629-641. Available at: [Accessed 19 May 2016].

Powell, M. and Ansic, D., 1997, Gender differences in risk behaviour in financial decision-making: An experimental analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology, 18(6), pp.605-628. Available at: [Accessed 19 May 2016].

The National Lottery, 2015. Lotto Online Game Procedures. [online] Available at [Accessed 19 May 2016].



  • There are currently no refbacks.