Ahh, math in real life…but what about math in *reality* life?

MTV’s Are You The One? unwittingly poses a mix of the old game standby Mastermind, probability, and reality-show intrigue.

“If your perfect match was standing right in front of you, would you even know it? In the most ambitious dating experiment ever attempted, that question will be answered as contestants compete in a series of challenges designed to test the intelligence of their heart. “Are You The One” begins by selecting 10 beautiful single women from across the US. Using the most extensive matchmaking process ever seen, 10 men will be found and perfectly matched for these women. But the results aren’t revealed to them. Now all 20 people are living together in Hawaii where they share one objective: Find their PERFECT MATCH. Each week, the group will follow their hearts and lock in a choice of who they think is their PERFECT MATCH. If all 20 people find their perfect match within 10 tries, they’ll all split \$1 MILLION!”

Each week, the group nominates one couple to go into the “truth booth,” which gives a definitive “yes” or “no” as to whether the couple is a match. That gives the group one data point. Then the group goes into a “matchup ceremony” where they pair up with another person and are told how many pairs are matches and how many are wrong.

Ideas for Math Questions

1) How many ways can they pair up?

2) If in the first truth booth, the couple is a match, how many ways can the remaining couples pair up?

3) If in the first truth booth, the couple is NOT a match, how many ways can the remaining couples pair up?

4) What strategies could the couples use when they receive their data from the matchup ceremony? For example, in the first week, the couples got 2 out of 10 matches correct. In the second week, they chose to go with completely different pairs and got 4 out of 10.

5) What is the probability that the group wins?

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