Visualizing the outcome of Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

Posted In: Counting | Math
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Who is selected when kids do Eeny Meeny Miney Moe?

I was watching my kids try to pick who got go first by doing the kids rhyme,

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, eeny, meeny, miny moe.”

Since there were only two of them, it got me thinking, if you knew which one it would fall on at the end, you could decide who to start counting with to ensure that you select who you want. For each set with different numbers of options, you will get a different individual from that set chosen so I thought I’d visualize who gets selected.

Click “Start” to see which option gets selected when there are different numbers of options. Hover over the graph to see which option is chosen.

There are multiple variants of the rhyme, but the primary one mentioned above has 16 counting elements. The math is such that you take the modulo (which is equivalent to a remainder in long division). For example, if you have 15 choices for the 16 element phrase, you’ll count through all 15 and then go back to the first option and end on it (i.e. item number 1 is chosen). 16 divided by 15 has a remainder of 1. In the case that the remainder is zero, you choose the last item. I.e. if there are 16 items/people to choose among, the last option is chosen and the remainder will be 0.

Longer variants will have more words, which are also shown on the dropdown menu. If you know of other variations, let me know in the comments and I can add them.

Primary: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, eeny, meeny, miny moe.” – 16 counting elements (“catch a” is one element, “by the” is another, etc)

Variation#1: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, eeny, meeny, miny moe My mother told me to pick the very best one and that is Y O U” – 31 counting elements

Variation#2: “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, eeny, meeny, miny moe My mother told me to pick the very best one and you are it” – 29 counting elements

Source and Tools:
The rhymes come from my childhood and my kids helped me remember some of the variants. Calculations are done in javascript and visualization is done with the open source Plotly javascript graphing library.

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1 Comment »


One Response to Visualizing the outcome of Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

  1. Jackie says:

    Fun one. I showed this to my daughter and now she’s using this to rig the outcome with her friends.

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