Experience 4 - Discrete Probability Distributions

Discrete Probability Distributions



How are probabilities assigned to different events? This is a question we will see is not always so simple to answer. If we know the likelihoods for every possible event then we can study how the probabilities are distributed to the different possible outcomes. A probability distribution refers to either the table or graph of all possible likelihoods. Once this distribution is created we can see important overall patterns like determining if an investment is lucrative or what the average result from a random event will be.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the basic notation and terminology for probability
  • Understand the general idea behind discrete probability distributions
  • Know how to find and interpret the expected value of a discrete probability distribution

Performance Criteria

  • The learner will create discrete probability distributions and explore their characteristics.
  • The learner will calculate and interpret expected values.
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Chapter 3 (This is a video by the authors covering chapter 3. Just watch the parts relating to section 3.1)

Chapter 4  (This is a video by the authors covering chapter 4. Just watch the parts relating to sections 4.1-4.2)

Click on "Textbook" to view the reading assignment for this experience or read sections 3.1, 4.1-4.2 from your print or digital copy.

Note: Various versions of the text can be found through the links in the Course Information folder.


  1. Review - Read the above components and post any questions in the forum below. 
  2. Practice - Complete the practice exercises that follow.
  3. Think - Research and contribute to the Wiki on Probability. 
  4. Apply - Complete the Application Problems and upload your completed files.

If you have any questions about the content (readings, problems, etc.) then post in the "Questions about Experience 4" forum. 

The class will work together to create a wiki for probability. I will provide an outline and each of you will add at least one point (one or two complete sentences). Use the following guidelines

  • Type your name in parentheses next to your contributions
  • Try and keep it general - no examples.
  • Check to make sure you are not repeating someone else.
  • If you correct someone else, use strike-through (example) instead of deleting what they wrote. 
  • Put things in your own words, don't just copy from the book.
  • Make sure you put your response in the right place, use my outline as the guide.
  • Use correct symbols or formulas where necessary. The Math Symbols button is available for you to use.

Your contribution to the Wiki is due by April 16.

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Practice Problem Videos

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