Cloudy with a Chance of Math

image via YouTube

image via YouTube

Food can fuel the growing mind, that’s why we at Zap Zap Math don’t take food lightly, and neither does Flint Lockwood. Flint is a scientist in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, who finds a way to convert water molecules into food. Though the probability of him succeeding in his delectable endeavor is slim, he persists in the pursuit of sunshine and lollipops with the help of science, math, and a monkey named Steve. Eventually, his machine is a success, and though this achievement comes with troubles of its own, the little town of Swallow Falls rejoices in this food development.

So what is probability? Probability is chance, the possibility of something happening. Probability is based on a scale of 0 to 1: 0 being no chance, and 1 being the highest chance. Such instance of probability would be the prediction of a coin toss.

coin toss

When a coin is tossed, there are only 2 probable outcomes upon its fall: it landing on heads, or it landing on tails. This makes the chances equal, and therefore easily divided into clear probabilities of ½ and ½, or 50% and 50%. But what if there were more probabilities, more outcomes than just heads or tails?

image credit

image credit

In the movie, we see Flint’s machine churning out dish after dish after dish, to the point of disasterous mutations. With so many delicious options falling out from the radioactive clouds, what is the probability of it raining meatballs? To get that answer, we need to know the basic probability formula:

proba 1

To calculate the probability of it raining meatballs, we first need to determine the total outcomes. Let’s say the potential outcomes are meatballs, ice cream, steak, hot dogs, and burgers. This gives us a total of 5 possibilities that could rain havoc upon us. Meatballs, in this case, is considered 1 event. The basic equation for calculating this particular probability is as follows:

proba 2

The 1 shown above indicates meatballs as the probability/event, whereas 5 would represent the total outcomes. So the chances of it raining meatballs are 1 in 5. To get the percentage of that probability, all it’ll take are two easy steps:

proba 3

To get a percentage, you’ll need to divide the event and outcome, and multiply the amount by 100. So the chances of it raining meatballs are 20%, which isn’t very likely at all, is it? Still, let’s not put those forks away just yet, because even the slightest chance is chance after all!

One Response to “Cloudy with a Chance of Math”

  1. […] You may not realise this, but math is everywhere. Your alarm clock rings to wake you up each morning because you set it to ring at a specific time. Those favourite pancakes made by mom are the result of carefully measured ingredients and the ideal cooking time. That ride to school by car is a fascinating journey of amount of miles versus the time it takes based on the distance from your home to the school. The cashier at your school cafeteria always calculates the precise change for your $2 note when you buy a lunch of a hot dog and a carton of milk at 50 cents each. Even a game of scissors, paper, and stone with your friends leads to a practise of probability. […]

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