The  Best  Starting  Square  for  the  Game  of  Tic -Tac -Toe

Tic-Tac-Toe Board

( Ohmkar's  Science  Experiment  --  grade 2 )



This article illustrates how the `Scientific' attitude can be exhibited even in a simple, basic experiment conducted by a little boy.  


`Scientific' thinking and execution does not absolutely require high degrees of formal education, expensive equipment, or a large number  of people.  All that is required for a productive scientific undertaking is :

             * the ability to observe the world around us,
             * the formation of a hypothesis,
             * design of experiments to test the hypothesis,
             * meticulous execution of the experiments,
             * an un-biased re-examination of the hypothesis, in light of the experimental observations,
             * conclusions drawn regarding the veracity of the original hypothesis,
  and   * a clear and concise presentation of the results.

The `scientist' also requires a high degree of honesty in the conduct of the experiments and in the presentation.

Described below is the Grade 2 Science Project of our son, Ohmkar.  Each student in his class was expected to select and conduct some science-related project, and make a presentation about it.  Ohmkar rejected several suggestions for his project ... some of these suggestions involved merely collecting and presenting data about which brands of toothpaste his neighbours used, etc.

At around 6 years of age, Ohmkar was quite interested in playing the game of tic-tac-toe.  Tic-tac-toe is the familiar two-player game, played on a 3 x 3 matrix board.  The players take turns placing their tokens on the 9 squares on the board.  The player who first gets three of his tokens to line up, wins.  Ohmkar selected this game as his science project.           

Ohmkar's Presentation-board

ohmkar's presentation (grade 2, age 6)


We were impressed by his planning, execution, and presentation of the project.  And, we were especially pleased to notice the firmness with which he denied his parents any part at all in preparing the presentaion.  (We did play the part of his opponent during the test-games he played to collect data.)  He did not allow us even to draw the parallel guidelines (on his presentation-board) along which he would write the text and figures to create the display.  This refusal to cheat was a most pleasant reward for the way he was being brought up.

Appendix 1 below is a transcript of his presentation-board, which was about 1.8 metre wide and 0.75 metre deep.



-- Mukund and Jaya Joglekar


Appendix  1  :  Transcript of Ohmkar's  Presentation


The  Best  Starting  Square


Hypothesis :  The center square is the best to start to win a Tic -Tac -Toe game.

Procedure :  

                                  The  9  squares on the Tic -Tac -Toe board are of  3  types :

Type 1
(The center square)
It can win in 4 ways. 
Type 2
(The 4 corner squares)
It can win in 3 ways.
Type 3
(Middle squares of sides)
It can win in 2 ways.
center square corner square middle square

                            We played  10  games  of Tic -Tac -Toe starting from each type.
                            When a player wins a game, he/she gets  2  points.
                            When a player loses, he/she gets  0  points.
                            When a game is a draw, each player gets  1  point.
                            I added the points scored by the starter, in each set of  10  games.

Center  square

Game No.

Starter Wins

Starter Loses

Draw Games





 1
checkmark

 2


checkmark
 3


checkmark
 4


checkmark
 5
checkmark

 6


checkmark
 7


checkmark
 8
checkmark

 9


checkmark
10


checkmark
Starter  score :  6 + 7 = 13

Corner  square

Game No.

Starter Wins

Starter Loses

Draw Games





 1


checkmark
 2
checkmark

 3


checkmark
 4


checkmark
 5


checkmark
 6
checkmark

 7


checkmark
 8
checkmark

 9
checkmark

10
checkmark

Starter  score :  10 + 5 = 15

 Middle  square   of  each  side

Game No.

Starter Wins

Starter Loses

Draw Games





 1
checkmark

 2

checkmark
 3


checkmark
 4


checkmark
 5

checkmark
 6

checkmark
 7


checkmark
 8


checkmark
 9
checkmark

10


checkmark
Starter  score :  4 + 5 = 9

Results :    

Starting  Square

Starter  Wins


Starter  loses

Draw  games

Total Points Scored by Starter

Type  1    centre square


3


0


7
 

6 + 7 = 13
Type  2    centre square


5


0


5


10 + 5 = 15
Type  3     centre square


2


3


5
 

4 + 5 = 9

                                            Type  2  starter  scored  the  most   points .

Conclusions :  My  hypothesis was incorrect.

                                  A corner square  (Type 2)  is the best to start to win a Tic -Tac -Toe game.


Back to bindhast : home