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Contestants on the game show Wheel of Fortune try to solve word puzzles by guessing missing letters. When they guess correctly, they make money…but there’s a catch! If they want to guess a vowel, they have to pay for the privilege: $250, to be exact. But is every vowel really worth the same?

In this lesson, students use ratios and percents to explore what would happen if Wheel of Fortune decided to charge prices for vowels based on how often they come up.

Students will

  • Collect data on vowel frequency in an episode of Wheel of Fortune
  • Create a bar graph representing the vowel distribution in the word puzzles
  • Use percents to develop a method of pricing vowels so their cost is representative of their frequency
  • Discuss alternate pricing schemes and their potential effects on the game

Before you begin

Students should know how to construct a simple bar graph from a table of data. They will also need to create ratios, convert them to percents, and calculate a given percent of a number. Students will be asked to construct a circle graph (pie chart). This could be used as a context for motivating their construction.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

Additional Materials

  • Colored pencils (optional)


Pat Sajak, Vanna White