Infinite number of monkeys OR red wigglers with Legos

I gave the red wiggler worms about an hour on the two Lego base plates in my search for activities to keep forty preschoolers engaged at a two-hour "Worms and water conservation" program for Earth Day. The worms did not write "Hamlet" or even any letters. They were surprisingly clingy, preferring to stay in clumps rather than venture out. I expected them to be in a hurry to find the edges of the base plates so they could go underneath where it was dark. These must be Pre-Columbian Flat Earth worms. When they got to the edge of the plate, most turned around and went back to the middle. In the first half hour only one worm went underneath.
Worms don't write Hamlet

In the first act of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, Guildenstern muses that "If six monkeys were thrown up in the air for long enough they would land on their tails about as often as they would land on their heads"

“There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

You can watch a little video of a worm moving on a base plate here.


You can learn about infinite monkey theorem, probability, and randomness here.

I will add that the worm movement was much more purposeful than our preschool students' search for plastic eggs on the playground Thursday morning.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Giggling. Wiggling.


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