This game
is from Mexico, and is played by children and grownups. The sixsided
top (topa or pirinola) provides an opportunity to learn about probability.
You can purchase a wooden topa or make one out of paper (see links below).
The game can be played in pairs or with a small or large group. Sometimes
adults play with coins. Other versions of this game are played in other
countries and other cultures.
MATERIALS:
Topa (sixsided top)
Beans or chips (enough for ten per person)
Pot (anything that can hold chips)
TO PLAY:
Each person is given ten beans or chips. Each
person puts two beans in the "pot". Take turns spinning
the topa, following the instructions on the top section when it comes
to rest. When the pot is empty, the winner is the person with the
most beans.
Pon uno 
Put 1 bean
in the pot 
Pon dos 
Put 2 bean in the pot 
Toma todo 
Take all beans from
the pot 
Toma uno 
Take 1 bean from the
pot 
Toma dos 
Take 2 beans from the
pot 
Todos ponen 
Everyone puts 1 bean
in the pot 
ACTIVITY:
Play the game for a while until familiar with the rules and outcomes.
Now have each group spin the topa 30 times and record the outcomes
on a table. Total all the group counts and record on a class table.
Calculate the experimental probability of each outcome.
DISCUSSION:
1. What is the sample space for the pirinola (what outcomes are possible)?
2. Is the pirinola fair (are all outcomes equally likely)?
3. What is the theoretical probability that a spin results in Toma
Todo?
4. Compare the theoretical probability with the experimental probability
from the previous activity.
