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Engineer for the year

November 12, 2014

Period C is in for a treat. We have an engineering student, Ali, who will be in our class every 2 weeks showing us some of the connections between math and engineering.

This week we modelled an oil problem by using buckets as “oil wells” and cups as our “machines”.

Each group was hired to get all of the oil from their well in 6 months.

Groups had to measure the initial height of the “oil” in their “well”. Each “month” (several minutes) the “machine” could be used 4 times. Each “month” the height of the “oil” was measured and recorded, and the data put on the graph.


At the end of the 4th month we looked at the graphs to see if we were likely to meet the 6th month deadline.

We drew lines of best fit, and discussed whether the data was linear or not, what the slope was and what it represents. We talked about the x and y intercepts and what they represent.

Each group was given a challenge to come up with ways to change the machine or the process to drain the “oil well” faster. After brainstorming a list of ways to change the process, each group used their knowledge of 3D shapes to design a better “machine” (cup) to scoop out the “oil”.

Groups presented their designs to the class.

Ali shared with us how our activity related to engineering, design and problem solving. She also told us of some interesting ways companies have solved problems by thinking outside the box.

It was great to have Ali as a part of our class. We look forward to more activities with her in 2 weeks.

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