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.
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
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.)
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.)
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
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
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.)
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.
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.)
Students will access the Cyberchase Web site at
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.
Have a fashion show. Ask groups to retrieve their costume accessories.
Group members will each pick a costume and model it for the class.
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.
Invite the school dietician to class to explain the thinking process
that goes into planning lunch menus and how combinations influence