Monday, March 01, 2010

The bell curve

So my daughter comes home from school and says she's having a problem with math.

"It's probabilities," she says.

"Cool!" says I.

"It says what if you have two six-sided cubes numbered 1 through 6 on the sides..."

"Wait a minute. Why doesn't it just say 'dice.'?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, you realize they're talking about d-sixes, right?"


"Six-sided dice."

"Yes, Daddy. I know that."

"Okay, from now on we're going to refer to dice like this: 1d6. The first number means how many dice you have, the 'd' means it a die, and the last number is how many sides on the die. Okay?"


"What's the problem?"

"You have 2d-sixes and..."

At this point I glanced at the book and saw what was going on. "Too bad it's not 3d6," I said. "That's what you use in Dungeons & Dragons."


"For character ability scores."


"Like strength, intelligence and stuff."

"Oh. Anyway..."

So we had some fun learning about the bell curve--or at least I had fun teaching her (something her "teacher" doesn't seem quite too skilled at), although I still think it would have been more interesting with 3d6. Or even more interesting with 4d6 and you get to discard the lowest one.


  1. "Oh. Anyway..."

    Yeah, I get that a lot from my son, too. At least he humors me by listening.

  2. Chalk, table, crap game. Study the game and probabilities become easy, and fun.