This activity is another one of my favourites. It first appeared on my blog in this form.
This activity is a great introduction to the fundamental counting principle.
- Explain to your class that Mozart (they think) created a dice game whereby a pair of dice is rolled 16 times to create a minuet. Based on the roll, a certain measure is inserted. In the end, you have 16 randomly selected measures. More detailed explanation.
- The trio section is created in the same way, but only a single die is rolled to determine the 16 measures.
- Create a minuet as a class by going here. I live in mortal fear that someday this site will disappear. It’s fantastic, because you can even view and print the score for the minuet you create.
- Tell your class that you are pretty darn sure no one has ever heard that minuet before. Ask them to figure out why.
- Turn them loose. They will invent the fundamental counting principle. Honest.
- What is the number we generated called? (Wolfram Alpha will help out with this)
- How long would it take to listen to all the possible minuets?
- What if every person in the world started systematically working together to make sure every minuet got played? How long would that take?