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‘Groundhog Day:’ How long has Bill Murray been in Punxsutawney? (Part 2)

Our celebration of Groundhog Day and Groundhog Day continues with our second question about Phil and his time spent in Punsutawney.

Artifact

This scene from Groundhog Day.

Guiding Questions

  • How long has Bill Murray (“Phil”) been practicing throwing cards into a hat?
  • Has Phil spent more time throwing cards into a hat than you’ve spent in Math class this year? Your entire high school career?
  • How good can you get at throwing cards into a hat after practicing for, say, 5 minutes? Can you make three in a row?

Solution

Rita: It would take a year to get good at this.

Phil: No. Six months. Four to five hours a day and you’d be an expert.

6 months = about 180 days.

180 days x 4 hours/day = 720 hours.

180 days x 5 hours/day = 900 hours.

Depending on the length of your school calendar and class periods, students are probably in Math class for about 200 hours/year. So that would be a “no” on Math-in-a-year vs. Phil-with-a-hat. But a “possibly” to Math-in-a-high-school-career vs. Phil-with-a-hat.

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‘Groundhog Day’ “I’m a god” scene solution

Here’s my attempt at a solution to the previous post on Groundhog Day.

In order for Bill Murray (“Phil”) to convince Rita and allow for Rita’s peppering of questions, we have to assume that Phil knows everyone in the restaurantIt’s tough to get a beat on the number of people in the restaurant, but it’s a lot. I’ll start counting, but then we may have to fudge the numbers a little bit.

1 comment on “‘Groundhog Day:’ How long has Bill Murray been in Punxsutawney? (Part 1)”

‘Groundhog Day:’ How long has Bill Murray been in Punxsutawney? (Part 1)

Happy Groundhog Day everyone! Brief synopsis of Groundhog Day in case you didn’t know: Bill Murray is trapped in the same, repeating day in perpetuity.

How long Murray has been trapped is a question that has plagued mankind since the early 1990’s. It’s never directly addressed in the movie, it’s just hinted that it’s a long, long time. Probably months, possibly years.

Artifact

Let’s take this scene, for example.

How many days do you think it took Bill Murray to adequately retrieve and retain enough information to convince Rita that he is, in fact, a god?

Guiding Questions

  • How many people did Bill Murray discuss?
  • How many people are in the restaurant?
  • How many times would it take to know all that stuff about them?
  • How many times through would it take to get the timing on that crash of the tray dropping?

Suggested Activities

Some of these questions can be observed from the video. Some of these questions probably have to be estimated. But then, some could be investigated by your students. Think of all those “getting to know you” activities you put at the start of the year. Couldn’t we recreate something like that with this scene? Couldn’t we investigate “how many conversations does it take before you know enough details to describe the person well?”

Or couldn’t we investigate how many times before we could know exactly when an event will occur (the tray dropping)? I mean, don’t we do that in rewatching movies all the time?