The Tenth Man, Math, and the Zombie Apocalypse

Sorry for the mid-week hiatus. We got back from UNL Math Day last night. I will post some pictures and stories about it later.

Zombies. Kids love them. I, personally, am a rabid fan of the entire genre, maybe even more so than the kids. My favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. Sunday nights are always a protected time in the Aaberg household.

The concept of the zombie apocalypse offers many opportunities to teach some mathematical concepts. Texas Instruments has some great curriculum ideas on the topic you can find here.

I am wondering how to use a part of this video as a hook for potential probability questions. The clip is taken from the movie World War Z. In the clip, Brad Pitt's character (Gerry Lane) speaks with Ludi Boeken's character (Jurgen Warmbrunn) about how Israel knew to finish its exterior walls prior to the zombie outbreak. Jurgen Warmbrunn refers to the principle of the "tenth man" [01:43]. "If nine of us with the same information arrive at the exact same conclusion, it is the duty of the tenth man to disagree."


I am thinking about how this problem relates to the Binomial distribution. An example of a question I would ask students would be, "Suppose the chance that one person agrees with another person is 50%, and agreement between any two people is equally and identically distributed. What is the probability that exactly nine of ten people agree?"

I would like to branch out and ask some more sophisticated questions with the video as a hook. My purpose in posting this is to seek ideas for ways to include this situation as a hook for writing a lesson in a statistics class related to the Binomial distribution.


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