Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

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Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

Postby Ruben_Garcia » Fri May 18, 2012 1:18 am

Dear all,
I'm Ruben Garcia Berasategui and I'm a lecturer in Jakarta International College.
I've just been asked to give a 2-hour workshop about Mathematics in the Real World and Mathematica to secondary school students early next month and I'm wondering if you may have any suggestions about the topic.
The idea is to present the background, including potential careers in the field, and actual workshop materials for about an hour and let the students explore by themselves through hands-on activities or games for another hour after which they would present their findings.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks in advance,
Ruben
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Re: Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

Postby Miles_Ford » Tue May 22, 2012 2:01 am

Well as a high school teacher I can say the big drawcards for Mathematica for the students are Plot, Solve and that it gives exact values. So whatever real world topic you choose to base it on I'd have them looking at the process of how they'd solve the problem manually and then look at how being able to visualise it (Plot) and then simplify the computation (Solve) makes it quicker and allows them to focus on what they need to do rather than the mechanics. Depends on the real world app obviously.

If you've got a real world problem in mind I'm happy to give some ideas on how to do this. What year level/s of high school are you presenting to?
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Re: Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

Postby Ruben_Garcia » Tue May 22, 2012 4:44 am

Hi Miles,
thanks a lot for the suggestion. Currently I don't have any real problem in mind yet and ,in principle, it should be suitable for grades 10-12.
Any recommendations regarding the topic would be greatly appreciated!
Regards,
Ruben
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Re: Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

Postby Miles_Ford » Tue May 22, 2012 5:11 am

Optimisation is a good topic. Start with something big - I'm guessing Jakarta's traffic flow could be improved - "what's the optimum speed for vehicles to get best traffic flow" (there's a Wolfram Demo Project that simulates this already). Then step back and hit some simpler optimisation, give a piece of card and make a box with the greatest capacity. Got access to some MAB blocks or similar? Use them to test the students' designs. Then do the mathematical modelling and Plot the volume to see where it's at its greatest. Depending on the student level you can get off here or differentiate and Solve exactly. Build up some more difficult problems and then go back to the traffic problem.

It depends on the group but I often find this topic engages students more than other high level maths topics because it's about doing things better, faster, cheaper... and it can be done without calculus or with it.

Here are some problems with models that I've created if you decide to go this way: Optimisation Problems
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Re: Suggestions for Math & Mathematica 2-Hour Workshop

Postby Ruben_Garcia » Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

The topic sounds great and actually you are right, traffic is a big issue in Jakarta. Thanks a lot for the suggestion Miles!
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