Finding the Best Lock

Can you help me make this into a 3 Acts problem? I was thinking some thing along these lines:

• Act 1: movie clip of someone trying to crack a combination lock. I want to set up the question “how long will it take?”
• Act 2: What are the rules for these combination locks? Maybe I could even be so lucky as to find these listed on a website with the number of permutations.
• Act 3: Which lock will take longer to crack?*
* Interesting factoid: I started this idea with the extension, not the first act. That is, I knew I wanted to present my students with a permutations-of-a-lock problem. I spotted these two locks on a website. Then wondered if kids could tell me which was more secure. For those who have written 3 Acts problems, is this a typical workflow?

Standard schmandard…

Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for Math: MM1D1b
MM1D1. Students will determine the number of outcomes related to a given event. b. Calculate and use simple permutations and combinations.

2 thoughts on “Finding the Best Lock”

1. Super fun, Megan. The third act is going to be purely speculative, I imagine, but the first act is a blast. I need to film that video. That’s a great starter.

• Thanks, Dan. I’m digging the Meyer-esque clips from recent flicks. Aside from inspiration hitting when watching a film, how *do* you find the supporting scenes?

I wish there was a way to search films for useful math scenes. Then I’d just have to ask: “movie crack a combination lock”. Oh wait, there is. Off to the Google machines!