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Real life applications of simultaneous equations

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by hammie, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    a bit harsh don't you think?
    the rest of your post will be quite helpful to someone whose school doesn't use a good core text
     
  2. No.
     
  3. My students have always actually enjoyed the mobile phone contract example. The best one I did was a lesson where I told the students I wanted an iPhone and gave them information about different real contracts and told them I needed their help to decide which one to go for. They really enjoyed it and came up with all sorts of reasons I hadn't thought of for which company to choose. They worked out which one was cheaper overall and discussed things like how long to stay with each company and when they become cheaper but also mentioned things like, "Do any of them come with insurance for your new phone?" So I don't think that is an overused real-life application. I think it is one that the students can really relate to. Much better than oranges and bananas! There is a video on what used to be teacherstv (but they are now on TES somewhere) about mobile phones which I have also used.
     
  4. Linear programming in D1 textbooks or revision guides usually give slightly more realistic examples and require solution of simultaneous equations. Whether you also teach the rest of linear programming as an extension is up to you! :)
    Hope this helps...

    Liz
     
  5. afterdark

    afterdark New commenter

    I disagree, shopping comparisons are real life.
    A restaurant bill is another example.
    An accountant has to itemise 3 hand written bills that do not show any sub totalling.
    Given that the prices remain the same between bills find the individual item costs.
    3 Coffees 3 set Meals 3 Desserts = 24 quid
    4 Coffees 3 set Meals 2 Desserts = 23.25
    5 Coffees 4 set Meals 1 Desserts = 24.50
    You didn't say 2 X 2 simultaneous equations did you?
    Unless, of course, by 'real life' you mean the very limited life experiences of teenagers who have never left their local estate.
    Why don't you say in 'real life' there are much more complicated problems?
    You could even show then how to reduce the 3 equations above from 3 unknowns to 2 equations in 2 unknowns.
    These are just the linear first order...
    I find the argument 'that is not real life' rather fatuous.
     
  6. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Radar collision avoidance systems & the reverse - guided missile systems solve simultaneous equations in real time (i.e. transformed to the time domain). The "solution" is the impact point.


    Possibly a bit beyond most Yr 9s though.

    Yes, the trouble is, they're not ready for "real life"..
     
  7. ian60

    ian60 New commenter

    I remember watching an OU vid many years ago in B/W where 3 bearded maths types went into a pub and ordered some drinks.
    Fast forward...
    They went to the bar but ordered a different number of the same drinks.
    Repeat
    The question was then, how much does a pint of Guiness cost.
    However, the crafty sods, had thrown a spanner in the works because the cost of a pint was (something like) 37p, but the cost of a half was 19p and not
    18 1/2 p
    Thus making it a very unstable system of equations.
    My! How those OU blokes laughed when they explained the issue.
    (I really miss OU maths lecturers with strange beards)
     
  8. With the 5 nations going on ... why not mess around with the points scored for tries/conversions/penalties?
    EDIT - what decade is it!?!?! I meant 6 nations!
     
  9. And that was Live on Mars, that was.... I am getting nostalgic as well!
     
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Do people score tries nowadays?

    (apart from England today of course)
     
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I have seen loads of questions along the lines of the ones mentioned, but it would be nice to have some which are genuine uses in real life. In practice, we know how much things cost or what a try is worth - we don't calculate such figures from totals. I think that the phone tariff thing is really just a linear equation - make the formula from company A equal to that from B, solve and then do the inequality. I know that we run into simultaneous equations in A-level Applied Maths, but does anybody know a genuine real life application that KS3 and 4 students can relate to? (I am quite happy to teach it without, but it would be nice to have one.) The Linear Programming idea sounds good once we have graphs of inequalities.
     
  12. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    From my experience, there are very few "real world" applications of anything KS3/4 students can relate to.

    This isn't to do them down, but when you look at the number of things they have to cope with in their lives to do with growing up, the opposite (or same) sex, clothes & teen culture, what's going on at home and then they have to cope with 5 or six different subjects being thrown at them every day, there just isn't the space left in most of their heads to try to make connections in depth.

    When kids ask "what is this for?" they're generally asking for two reasons - the first is "is this on the exam", so they know if they even have to bother paying any sort of attention and the second is the hope that you'll digress into what it's for so they can sit back for 10 minutes.

    Kids who actually want to know what a technique can be used for are pretty rare - the "genuine" ones will already have an application in mind because it chimes with their interests and they will either not ask or, if they do ask, are seeking confirmation.
     

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