The Z Factor
The Z Factor
Pupils determine how long it would take a panel of judges if they saw every act that auditioned for the “Z factor” programme.
- National Curriculum levels 3 to 8
- 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Paper and calculator
Key Processes involved
- Simplify the problem by making appropriate assumptions
- Combine assumptions and work logically to solve the problem
- Communicating and reflecting
- Throughout, present arguments and reflect on findings, recognising the impossibility of the scenario presented
You could start by showing pupils relevant pictures or videos from http://xfactor.itv.com/
- For the TV programme, there are thousands of people wanting to audition. How do they decide which acts get through this first set of auditions?
- To answer the question, you will need information that is not given, so you will have to make assumptions (sensible guesses) – and explain them.
The task requires multiplicative calculations involving time.
The following probing questions may be helpful:
- What do you need to know? As you work through the problem, write down the questions for which you need answers
- Make sensible guesses for the answers; what assumptions are you making? Why?
- Have you decided to ignore any factors? Why?
- What does your solution tell you about the auditions for the Z Factor?
Two key assumptions are needed: 1) How long an audition lasts; 2) The number of hours in a judges’ working week. Pupils’ assumptions should be vaguely realistic! Pupils might work backwards, assuming all auditions are seen and finding how long each one would need to be; this does not answer the question asked, but it does show insight into the situation and the mathematics is equally complex.