Dr. Cary Oberije, a postdoctoral researcher in The Netherlands, has found that mathematical models can be used to accurately predict patients' responses to treatment. Prediction models were used to analyze lung cancer patients' likelihood of survival and...

# When Will I Use Math?

## WeUseMath.org

# Ideas for Fun Math Problems?

After looking through this great web site, I decided that I would like to implement it into my classroom. I am looking for resources like activities or games that would involve precalculus or calculus and how they can use it in the different careers on this site. Any ideas or suggestions?

This isn't entirely "real world" if you will but it is fun. When doing systems of equations with matrices we give them a set of stipulations that create a system to give the recipe for pumpkin pie. We actually have them make the pumpkin pie.

Here is what we give them:

With the following information you will be able to figure out the recipe to make pumpkin pie. Set up a system of equations and solve for the variables with using matrices.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

Albertsonâ€™s sells sugar (S) for $.32 a cup, cinnamon (C) is $1.15 a teaspoon, pumpkin (P) is 1.54 per cup, evaporated milk (M) is $.80 a cup, and $.13 per egg (E). It costs $5.93 to get those ingredients for the pie. The amount of pumpkin is equivalent to the amount of eggs that you have. When you add pumpkin, milk, and eggs you get 5.5 units of weight. The amount of sugar combined with the cinnamon is 1.75. There is twice as much milk as there is sugar. Setup a system of equations to represent the above situation and solve.

[space for work]

Using the information from above, find the amount of the remaining ingredients with the following data. The amount of salt (N) is half the amount of the cinnamon. There is four times as much cinnamon as there are cloves (V). The amount of ginger (G) is the same as the amount of salt.

[space for work]

Pie Crust:

Albertsonâ€™s sells flour (F) for $.40 a cup, shortening (B) for $1 per cup, and $.12 per teaspoon of salt (N). The cost to make the crust is $.86. Combining the flour, salt, shortening and water (W) yields 5.83. Five times the amount of salt is equivalent to the amount of flour. 16 times the amount of salt is the same as the amount of water (measured in tablespoons) . Set up a system of equations to represent and solve using matrices.

I usually put the students into groups of 4-6. My school is on a trimester system so the class periods are 66 min long. So one day I have them work through the equations and set it up in the matrices and solve. Then the next day I have them make it. Sometime students who pick up on story problems quicker will finish in one day. Then we cook them in the ovens at school, put them in the freezer and bring cool whip (or my co-worker insists whipped cream for at least our pie) and have them eat during the test.

You can do a similar thing with instant pudding but there is less variables. I liked more variables for the pre-calc students.

the recipe is just the one on the back of the Libby's can and then we have them half it to make more pies. I used my legislative money to get the ingredients.

The most common question students ask math teachers at every level is “When will I use math?” WeUseMath.org is a non-profit website that helps to answer this question. This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics.

There are a number of cool math problems on this site: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/mathkids/

They cover computing the risk that you have a disease, to secret codes, to a mathematical way to show how fast a rumor can spread. Some of the problems are pretty interesting.