Buffon's needle
experiment is an example of a

A needle is dropped on a floor, with floorboards of width equal to the needle's length. The number of times the needle falls on a crack is counted. This total, when compared to the number of times the needle has been dropped, can give an estimate of pi.

Begin by choosing the number of needle drops then click on

**Monte Carlo method**, whereby a random process is used to find an approximation to a mathematical value, in this case pi.A needle is dropped on a floor, with floorboards of width equal to the needle's length. The number of times the needle falls on a crack is counted. This total, when compared to the number of times the needle has been dropped, can give an estimate of pi.

Begin by choosing the number of needle drops then click on

**Simulate**.## Software/Applets used on this page

## Glossary

### pi

the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 3.14159265...

## This question appears in the following syllabi:

Syllabus | Module | Section | Topic | Exam Year |
---|---|---|---|---|

AQA A-Level (UK - Pre-2017) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

AQA AS Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

AQA AS/A2 Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

CBSE XII (India) | Probability | Probability | Repeated independent (Bernoulli) trials and binomial distribution | - |

CBSE XI (India) | Statistics and Probability | Probability | Random experiments, outcomes, sample spaces (set representation) | - |

CCEA A-Level (NI) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

CIE A-Level (UK) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

Edexcel A-Level (UK - Pre-2017) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

Edexcel AS Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

Edexcel AS/A2 Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

I.B. Higher Level | 5 | Probability | Experimental | - |

I.B. Standard Level | 5 | Probability | Experimental | - |

Methods (UK) | M15 | Probability | Experimental | - |

I.B. (MSSL) | 3 | Probability | Experimental | - |

OCR A-Level (UK - Pre-2017) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

OCR AS Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

OCR MEI AS Maths 2017 | Statistics | Probability | Experimental Probabilities | - |

OCR-MEI A-Level (UK - Pre-2017) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |

Pre-Calculus (US) | E4 | Probability | Experimental | - |

Pre-U A-Level (UK) | Prob | Probability | Experimental | - |

Scottish (Highers + Advanced) | HS | Probability | Experimental | - |

Scottish Highers | S | Probability | Experimental | - |

Universal (all site questions) | P | Probability | Experimental | - |

WJEC A-Level (Wales) | S1 | Probability | Experimental | - |