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Mathematics Goes to the Movies
by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross
Willie Wonka (1971)
COMPUTER GUY: We are about to witness the greatest miracle of the machine age. Based on the revolutionary computonian law of probability this machine will tell us the precise location of the three remaining golden tickets. (Fiddles with the machine and then reads output.) “I won’t tell, that would be cheating.” Etc. see clip.
TEACHER: Pencils ready. Today we are going to learn about percentages and for an example let’s take the recent unpleasantness. Supposing there were 1000 Wonka bars in the world and during the contest you each opened a certain number of them that number is a percent. Everyone understand?
ALL KIDS: No
TEACHER: You Madelain Derkin, how many Wonka bars did you open?
KID: About a hundred.
TEACHER: There are ten hundreds in a thousand. Therefore, you opened ten percent. You, Peter Goff. How many did you open.
TEACHER: That’s ten percent half over again which makes 15 percent. Charlie Backett, how many did you open?
TEACHER: That’s easy. 200 is twice 100.
KID: Not 200, just 2.
TEACHER: Two, what do you mean you only opened two.
KID: I don’t care very much for chocolate.
TEACHER: Well, I can’t figure out just two. So, let’s pretend you opened 200. Now, if you opened 200 Wonka bars, apart from being dreadfully sick, you’d have used up 20 percent of 1000 which is 15 percent half over again.