Mathalicious: Oddsballs

When is it worth buying a Powerball ticket?

Everyone knows that winning the lottery is really, really unlikely. But sometimes those Powerball jackpots get really, really huge. So tempting! Is there a jackpot amount that makes the $2 ticket worth the risk?

In this lesson, students compute the probability of winning the Powerball jackpot, and also the probabilities of other winning outcomes. Using the payouts for the outcomes, they find the expected value of a Powerball ticket. Finally, students decide whether the Powerball jackpot amount is ever large enough to justify buying a ticket.


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Math Topics
High School
9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade

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