Mathematics in Movies and Television Shows. Elana Epstein, Ed.D. St. Joseph’s College. Outline. Using Movies and TV Shows to Motivate a Lesson Using Movies and TV Shows as the Lesson Using movies and TV Shows to Reinforce an Idea Ideas in Other Media.
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Mathematics in Movies and Television Shows
Elana Epstein, Ed.D.
St. Joseph’s College
Example 1: The Da Vinci Code
Cryptography and Fibonacci Numbers
Robert Langdon asked by French police to look at crime scene where curator of the Lourve died
There is a secret message written:
13 – 3 – 2 – 21 – 1 – 1 – 8 – 5 O, Draconian devil!Oh, lame saint!
Recognize these numbers?
13 – 3 – 2 – 21 – 1 – 1 – 8 – 5
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13 – 21
O, Draconian devil! Oh, lame saint!
Leonardo Da Vinci the Mona Lisa
Example 2: Monk
Two victims have the same first and last names
How likely is this coincidence?
Lead to discussion of the birthday problem:
How many people are required in order to have a better than even chance that two or more of them have the same birthday?
Or to The Monty Hall problem:
On a game show there are three doors
Behind one is a car, the others have goats
You pick a door and the host, who know what's behind the doors, opens another door which has a goat
Should you switch?
Example 3: Castaway
Area of Circle
Chuck tries to figure out how many miles people would have to search to rescue him
Example 4: Futurama
A number was needed for scene in Futurama
Writers chose 1729:
13+123 = 1+1728
93+103 = 729+1000
Weisstein, Eric W. “1729." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/1729.html
Example 5: Death and the Compass
Based on the short story
by Jorge Luis Borges
Three murders occur in equilateral triangle
Inspector predicts fourth to form a rhombus
The police squad in Upstate New York is stumped, so you are called in as a math special agent. So far there have been two murders, and the killer left notes at each location implying there will be a third and final murder. Your job is to figure out where the crime will occur so the police can get to the scene and stop it from happening. This is a map of the first two crimes.
At the first crime the following clue was found:
Unlike its salmon
When I cross and climb Bear Mountain
My bridges will be burned
For I will not return.
There will be three dead by the 3rd night.
Say what you will, I am always RIGHT.
And on the second night this clue was found:
The north better be armed
For the third time won’t be a charm.
My crime spree will be terminated
Thirty degrees northwest of where I originated.
Can you help the police figure out where the third crime will be?
Example 6: Matilda
To find 1784 x 11
First do 1784 x 10 = 17840
Then sum 17840 + 1784 = 19624
Example 1: Die Hard: With A Vengeance
Main characters go on a hunt to capture a criminal and have to solve riddles
As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
And every wife had seven sacks
And every sack had seven cats
And every cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives
How many were going to St Ives?
Here’s another riddle:
Given 5 gallon and 3 gallon jugs make exactly 4 gallons of water
Example 1: The Da Vinci Code
Sophie describes how many combinations are on a cryptex
26x26x26x26x26 = 11,881,376
Then give similar problems
Example 2: 30 Rock
Tracy discovers Grizz can beat Kenneth at Halo and uses the transitive property
Example 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Have students work in pairs
Each student draws a picture of the seven
bottles and their partner uses the picture along
with the given clues to solve the riddle
Example 2: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Prime numbers and Problem Solving
Math in literature
Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
Compares mathematical insight to divine revelation