﻿ The foul food maker: go figure: theoretical and experimental probability   # Theoretical and experimental probability

There are two different types of probability that we often talk about: theoretical probability and experimental probability.

Theoretical probability describes how likely an event is to occur. We know that a coin is equally likely to land heads or tails, so the theoretical probability of getting heads is 1/2.

Experimental probability describes how frequently an event actually occurred in an experiment. So if you tossed a coin 20 times and got heads 8 times, the experimental probability of getting heads would be 8/20, which is the same as 2/5, or 0.4, or 40%.

The theoretical probability of an event will always be the same, but the experimental probability is affected by chance, so it can be different for different experiments. The more trials you carry out (for example, the more times you toss the coin), the closer the experimental probability is likely to be to the theoretical probability.

Maybe you could try tossing a coin 20 times to see how close your experimental probability is to the theoretical probability.  