# The Z Factor

# The Z Factor

Pupils determine how long it would take a panel of judges if they saw every act that auditioned for the “Z factor” programme.

# Links

# Practical details

- Suitability
- National Curriculum levels 3 to 8
- Time
- 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Resources
- Paper and calculator

# Key Processes involved

- Representing
- Simplify the problem by making appropriate assumptions
- Analysing
- Combine assumptions and work logically to solve the problem
- Communicating and reflecting
- Throughout, present arguments and reflect on findings, recognising the impossibility of the scenario presented

# Teacher guidance

You could start by showing pupils relevant pictures or videos from http://xfactor.itv.com/

- For the TV programme, there are thousands of people wanting to audition. How do they decide which acts get through this first set of auditions?
- To answer the question, you will need information that is not given, so you will have to make assumptions (sensible guesses) – and explain them.

The task requires multiplicative calculations involving time.

The following probing questions may be helpful:

- What do you need to know? As you work through the problem, write down the questions for which you need answers
- Make sensible guesses for the answers; what assumptions are you making? Why?
- Have you decided to ignore any factors? Why?
- What does your solution tell you about the auditions for the Z Factor?

Two key assumptions are needed: 1) How long an audition lasts; 2) The number of hours in a judges’ working week. Pupils’ assumptions should be vaguely realistic! Pupils might work backwards, assuming all auditions are seen and finding how long each one would need to be; this does not answer the question asked, but it does show insight into the situation and the mathematics is equally complex.