Science, Maths & Technology

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Could we control our climate?

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# 1 The climate forecast

How can scientists predict climate change in a hundred years, when they can’t even predict the weather next week? The answer will hopefully become clear in Activity 1.

## Activity 1 Heads or tails?

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Find a coin and a volunteer.

Ask your volunteer to toss the coin six times in a row. But before they start, ask them to write down a prediction for what the results will be: for example, ‘heads, tails, heads, tails, tails, heads’.

Were they right?

Chances are they were not! In fact, your volunteer had only a 1.6% chance of getting it right (0.5 multiplied by itself six times).

Now do the same again but ask your volunteer to make a different prediction: to write down how many heads there will be out of the six coin tosses.

Do they get this prediction right? If so, can you explain why this might be?

They are much more likely to get this right. This is because they are predicting the average frequency of heads over six coin tosses rather than making six separate predictions for each individual coin toss.

Does each type of prediction become easier or harder if you do the same activity with a larger number of coin tosses?