Systems Linear Programming


As an intro to this lesson, I shared this scenario…

You are bidding a contract for Company ABC.  The order is for 12,000 dozen of a product and needs to be completed within 3 months.

First student question, why would anyone need 12,000 dozen of anything?  They felt this amount was a ludicrous number.  (After many summers working at Fruit of the Loom, I knew this was within reason, but a nice discussion anyhow.)

Well, is it?
According to Apple Press Info, if it’s as popular as  iPhone6…no. 

First Weekend iPhone Sales Top 10 Million, Set New Record

We figured if we had equal distribution among all 50 states, this was quite doable.

Do we have the man hours to fulfill this order in 3 months?

There are…21 (bc there were 21 students in class today) workers in this particular unit…who work 8 hours per day, each of you can complete 10 products in 1 hour.  Yes, I just made these up, but that’s what we worked with.

After a few minutes, we started sharing processes, quickly a bit of an argument – why did you do it this way? Should you have….?  Others arrived at the same solution, but with varying approaches.

I could kick myself for not taking a picture of their suggestions.  Some nice verifying one another going on.  However, they were not sure what those values represented…they could get the “right” values but lost when I asked for a label.

Watching students grapple with the numbers, made me realize how far out of reality we’ve taken students math skills.  I just want to do a better job of letting them make sense of problems themselves.

We determined it would cut it close, but we could likely finish this job, maybe requiring a bit of overtime to meet the deadline.

Now, as we make an offer for the contract, what are costs west consider? This leading to an idea of our linear programming. 
Wages, materials, utilities, insurance, packaging,  shipping, etc.  One student even said, there’s a lot to consider. Me, knodding, yes.

Is this a great example intro. Nah. But I feel it’s a nice way to show students there are many options a company must consider prior to the contract, production, sale.

Now, to the hard part.  A variety of students, some with adequate graphing skills, others struggling to find the line x> 3.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s