Crossroads in Mathematics

Example 14

A Writing Assignment

These standards emphasize the role of writing in the learning of mathematics. Students can learn about how mathematics is used in their major fields of study by interviewing practitioners or doing library research and then writing reports. For example, business students might report on how finance charges are determined on credit card purchases.

In a very practical sense, technical majors will be expected to write reports for their employers. Consider the following problem:

Problem. The production plans for a factory indicate the need for 3600 Model 12 units for the upcoming year (June through May). The demand for the Model 12 is even throughout the year. Each Model 12 unit requires a prefabricated encasement that is obtained from an outside vendor. The vendor will allow the factory to determine the number of shipments in which the 3,600 encasements will be sent but mandates that an equal number of encasements be sent in each shipment. The charges are as follows:

Additionally, the factory is only able to store 600 encasements at any one time. Provide the vender with a report indicating the number of shipments to make and when they should be received by the factory. Provide your employer with justification for your decision.