Last year, I pondered the math in MTV’s Are You The One? and recently caught up on Season 3. The premise of the show is that ten guys and ten girls are put together in a house and given ten weeks to figure out their “perfect matches” (pre-determined by matchmakers). If all ten matches are found, the group splits \$1 million. Each week, the group can send one couple to the truth booth to get a “yes or no” to whether that couple is a match. After that, there is a match-up ceremony in which either the guys or the girls (varies by week) are called up by the announcer to select who they believe is their match.

One perfect match (Chelsey and Connor) was found in week 5, but the group has only found a max of three matches and even went one week with zero matches. (via Wikipedia, below). I was amused to find that this season’s contestants are attempting to use strategy (not quite the Nobel Prize-winning algorithm for residency matching) to figure out more matches rather than just following their hearts. The contestants were getting antsy, especially after losing \$250,000 from the \$1 million prize during that week of no matches.

I wonder what students would do to try to figure out the perfect matches each week if they were given this data, and how to encourage mathematical discourse about it (rather than chatter about the relationship drama among the contestants). If this show continues when I’m back to full-time teaching, I’d love to track the season from the beginning with students and see if they could predict the matches before the following week.

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