U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

# Teaching Game Theory to Kids and Limits of Prediction

## Abstract

I have once been asked to read a lecture to a group of 6th graders on Game Theory. After agreeing to it, I realized that explaining the game theory basics to 6th graders my be difficult, given that terms such as Nash equilibrium, minimax, maximin, optimization may not resonate in a 6th grade classroom. Instead I've introduced game theory using the rock-paper-scissors (RPS) game. Turns out kids are excellent gametheoreticians. In RPS, they understood both the benefits of randomizing their own strategy and of predicting their opponent's moves. They offered a number of heuristics both for the prediction and opening move. These heuristics included optimizing against past opponent moves, such as not playing rock if the opponent just played scissors, and playing a specific opening hand, such as "paper". Visualizing the effects of such strategic choices on-the-fly would be interesting and educational. This brief essay attempts demonstrating and visualizing the value of a few different strategic options in RPS. Specifically, we would like to illustrate the following: 1) what is the value of being unpredictable?; and 2) what is the value of being able to predict your opponent? In regard to prediction of human players, the question 2) has beenmore »

Authors:
[1]
1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Contributing Org.:
Wolfram, Champaign, IL (United States). Wolfram Summer School
OSTI Identifier:
1459605
Report Number(s):
SAND2018-7137R
665331
DOE Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000; NA0003525
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING

Technical Report:

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