Sunday, October 7, 2012

This WILL be on the test...

I am SOOOOO PUMPED!!! I can't wait for Tuesday to get here! (Monday is a school holiday, darn it!  Just kidding, I can't wait to play outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!)

This week I have the privilege of teaching "Optimization with Linear Programming" to my Algebra 2 students!!!

If you are not familiar with linear programming, here are the basics:  It's classic microeconomics where you look at a graph of a situation and use the vertices (the cross points of lines) of the feasible region (the shape that the crossed lines create) to determine what to do or what criteria to meet in order to maximize profit or minimize costs. 

What's totally cool about linear programming is that it's a relatively new area of study.  Leonid Kantorovich was the father of linear programming, and it dates back to 1939, during WWII.  He used linear programming to help the army plan expenditures and returns in order to reduce costs to the United States while increasing losses to the enemy.

These days, it's still used in business, big and small, and in all sectors, especially in considering production, transportation, and planning costs. 

So, here's the plan:
Tuesday:  We are going to do a hypothetical project where we look at whether or not it would be best to open the campus to seniors at lunch time in order to eliminate one of three lunch periods.  This will introduce my students to identifying the variables, considering the constraints, and graphing the variables to find the "feasible region". 

Tuesday night's homework:  My students will have to watch a short youtube video on the origins of linear programming and how to use the feasible region to find the optimum solution. 

Wednesday:  We will take notes on the process of using linear programming and then do an example involving a landscaping company where the employees either do shrub pruning or lawn mowing.  We will find the best use of the employees' time to maximize the profit for the company. 

So, I know you probably -at best- skimmed this post.  Only real math geeks get excited about this kind of thing.  But, the great thing about being a teacher is that I just might spark something in one of my students, and who knows what they might become or how they might change the world someday!?!?!  After all, someone was Leonid Kantorovich's math teacher somewhere along the way...

By the way, the test is on Friday and, yes, this will be on the test! 

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