I'd like to thank David Bernstein from the google group "Mathematics Education" for today's topic. He shared one of his posts on using Monopoly to help teach probability. Its titled "Teaching probability with seven questions from the game of Monopoly". In it each question has a link to previous blog that discusses the topic in detail. This is an activity I could easily integrate into my classroom without much work. It also provides everything I need to create a SmartBoard activity with little effort. Thank you David.
Quick commercial note - Contrary to the story that it was created early in the 1930's, it was actually created back in 1902 by a woman who called it the "Landlord Game" and patent it in 1903. It took off when a man in the 1930's shared "his game" and eventually sold it to Parker Brothers who marketed it and gave credit to the man for inventing it.
So what other activities are available to use the Monopoly Game as the basis for teaching some real life probability. Even Business Insider created a slide show titled "How to use math to crush your friends at Monopoly". The presentation starts with the probability of landing on a piece of land when rolling two dice and starting at Go. It looks at the probability of rolling doubles, of where to build houses to have your opponents land on your square and how the community chest, chance cards, and go to jail cards change probabilities. It is a very through presentation.
This resource library has a great lesson plan that uses Monopoly to collect data and use an Excel spread sheet. It comes with a three page lesson plan, all the worksheets you need and has students use Excel to enter their data so they can create graphs to show their results. It is geared for 8th grade Algebra I students but could easily be extended up or down.
MathCoachblog has a great entry on this topic but he approaches it from the cost of landing on certain squares in terms of rent. Most of the other sites look at the probability but this one looks at the rental cost based on location. He has excellent pictures to illustrate his point. In addition Mr Ward at MrWardteaches has a great visual breakdown on the break even point for each group of property, railroads and utilities. These two blogs fit together quite well.
The last resource for today comes from Math Concentration with a list of 5 links showing how Monopoly can be used in the classroom including directions for creating Mathpoly. Mathpoly is a great review game and could be individualized for various classes.