is from Mexico, and is played by children and grown-ups. The six-sided
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.
Topa (six-sided top)
Beans or chips (enough for ten per person)
Pot (anything that can hold chips)
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
||Put 1 bean
in the pot
||Put 2 bean in the pot
||Take all beans from
||Take 1 bean from the
||Take 2 beans from the
||Everyone puts 1 bean
in the pot
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.
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
4. Compare the theoretical probability with the experimental probability
from the previous activity.
style of top