Two-dice horse race

Foster, Colin and Martin, David (2016) Two-dice horse race. Teaching Statistics, 38 (3). pp. 98-101. ISSN 1467-9639

[img] PDF - Repository staff only until 20 May 2017. - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (364kB)


In this article we analyse the “two-dice horse race” task often used in lower secondary school, in which two ordinary dice are thrown repeatedly and each time the sum of the scores determines which horse (numbered 1 to 12) moves forwards one space. The process is repeated until one horse crosses the finishing line a fixed number of spaces away. We examine the difficulties involved in calculating the probability of any particular horse winning the race and carry out a simulation to estimate these probabilities. We conclude that while this task might be a helpful way to introduce sample space diagrams, great care is needed in interpreting the outcome of the race. The greater probability of obtaining a total score of 7 on a single throw of two dice is only partly responsible for horse 7’s greater chance of winining, since the length of the track is also important.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Foster, C., and Martin, D. (2016) Two-dice horse race. TEST, 38: 98–101 doi: 10.1111/test.12108, which has been published in final form at: This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 09 May 2016 16:31
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2016 00:19

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View