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Lesson Plans
Cyber Combos
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Prep for Teachers

Prior to beginning the lesson, break the class into groups of threes or fours. Ask each student to bring in a funny t-shirt and a crazy pair of sunglasses.

Bookmark all the Web sites used in the lesson, and CUE the video to the appropriate starting point, which is when you see Inez and Digit in the spa dressing room.

When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

Introductory Activities: Setting the Stage

Step 1:

One or two days prior to starting the lesson, assign students to groups of three or four. Also ask every student in the class to bring in a funky t-shirt and a crazy pair of sunglasses.

Step 2:

On the day of the lesson, tell students to break into assigned groups and to pick three of the funkiest t-shirts and two pairs of sunglasses they have. Tell students to be sure that the t-shirts and sunglasses they pick are all different, and that there are no duplicates. Give students plenty of time to discuss and create a list of the number of outfits that can be made consisting of one t-shirt and one sunglasses from three t-shirts and two sunglasses. (Six outfits.)

Step 3:

Ask groups if there was an easier way to predict how many outfits were possible using the number of each set of objects: t-shirts and sunglasses. (Guide students to realize that by multiplying the number of t-shirts by the number of sunglasses, you can get the total number of possible combinations.)

Step 4:

Let's see if our observation is true. Distribute two wigs, or two boas, or two other identical costume accessories to each group. Each group can receive different items, but each group must have two of the same accessory.

Ask groups to predict the number of outfits possible with the new objects. (Twelve.)
Instruct groups to list the outfits to verify their predictions. Tell groups to save their outfits and lists because they will be used later. (Three t-shirts x 2 sunglasses x 2 accessories = 12 possible outfits.)


Learning Activities

Step 1:

Tell students that they will now view a few video clips from the Cyberchase episode "A Day at the Spa." The Cyberchase team is looking to get the black crystal out of the hands of Hacker. Along the way, the team must deal with a number of situations that call for applying combinations of different sets of objects.

CUE the tape to where you see Inez and Digit in the Spa dressing room. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to determine how Inez and Digit list all of Digit's disguises? PLAY the tape. STOP when Digit says, "I sure hope this works." Ask your students how Inez and Digit listed all of Digit's disguises? (Inez took pictures of each.) Why was it necessary to take pictures? (So Digit could keep track of what disguises were already used.) What did Digit use for his disguises? (Three wigs, two sunglasses.)

How many of combinations of wigs and sunglasses did Digit create? (Six.) Could you tell Digit and Inez an easy way of counting all the disguises possible? (Multiply the number in each set of objects: 3 wigs X 2 sunglasses = 6 disguise combinations.)

Step 2:

FAST-FORWARD to the scene where Jackie and Matt are in the Grim Wreaker dungeon trying to escape by pushing against the door. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION asking how Jackie and Matt kept track of the combinations of doorknobs and keys. PLAY the tape. STOP when you hear Matt say "Yes" and they both open the dungeon door to leave. Check for comprehension. How did they keep track of the combinations of doorknobs and keys? (They created a table using the square tiles on the dungeon floor.) How many doorknobs and keys did they have? (Three of each.) How many combinations of one doorknob and one key were possible? (Nine.) In our costume activity, how many t-shirt and sunglass combinations were possible? (Six.) Ask students if a table such as the one Jackie and Matt used could be applied to keep track of our t-shirt and sunglass costumes? (Yes.) Have groups attempt to draw a table showing all combinations of t-shirts and sunglasses. Invite groups to draw their tables on the blackboard. Remind groups that each received a third costume accessory consisting of two wigs, boas, etc. How many costume combinations of t-shirt, sunglasses, and third item were possible? (Twelve.) Ask if a table could be drawn to keep track of all our costume combinations using three items. (No.) Why? (Tables only have room for two sets of objects.) Let's see how the Cyberchase team handles a situation dealing with more than two sets of objects.

Step 3:

FAST-FORWARD until you see the control board being used to protect the black crystal with a force field. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION asking students to determine the number and type of controls on the control board. PAUSE when Inez says "but there are so many possibilities." What are the types of controls, and how many of each are there? (Two switches, two levers, and three buttons.) How many of each must be used to cancel the force field? (One of each.) How many combinations of one switch, one lever, and one button are possible? (Two X Two X Three = 12 possible combinations.) Elicit how the Cyberchase team can keep track of all possible combinations of switches, levers, and buttons. (Answers will vary.)


Cross-Curricilar Extensions

Step 1:

Students will access the Cyberchase Web site at http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/games /combinations/combinations.html and play a game called "Disguise Combos" Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to use their knowledge of combinations to create as many disguises as possible for the Cyberchase team. Discuss the rules of the game to the class. To win the game, students must create as many disguise combinations as possible using wigs and sunglasses for the Cyberchase team members. Students can play alone or with a partner. Teachers can ask groups to list the combinations using tables and tree diagrams.

Step 2:

Have a fashion show. Ask groups to retrieve their costume accessories. Group members will each pick a costume and model it for the class.


Cross-Curricilar Extensions

English/Language Arts
Have groups make up characters for each of the costumes they will model, and write five lines introducing each character to the class as it is modeled.

Art and Economics
Using retail catalogs or fliers from stores, challenge the class to come up with as many outfits as possible consisting of one shirt, one pair of pants or skirt, and one pair of shoes given a budget of only $100. Have them cut out the pictures of the clothing and list the price. Make a poster that indicates the number of possible outfits. Students could compare posters to see which one had the greatest number of combinations.


Community Connections

Invite the school dietician to class to explain the thinking process that goes into planning lunch menus and how combinations influence that process.