Queuing Analysis in Algebra: 21st Century Career Connections

Would the textbook publishers please step up?  Our students need to know how math is used in real jobs these days and I don’t have time to  research all that.  Sure, AutoCAD and other software replaces writing y=mx+b, but take a look at the algorithms in this video to understand one way linear equations are a foundation brick to access math in 21st Century Careers.  Someone needs to inform students about what kinds of jobs there are beyond those they see on the way to the mall; and, as a math teacher, I’m feeling the responsiblity. Speaking of mall, here’s a modeling problem for linear equations that involve queuing:

You are designing a layout for the holidays at the mall you manage.  The most important concern is the queuing for various events.  (There has to be room for all those waiting in lines.).  Some of these specifications may have more than one possibility or no possibility at all.  Lay out your plan on graph paper, writing your equations on another piece of paper. You will need to specify restricted domains or ranges to keep some lines from running into each other (Example -3 < x < 4 or 5 < y < 8 ).

  1. Line A (Sunglasses kiosk) goes through the point (1, 4).
  2. Line B (Visit Santa) has a slope of –2 and goes to the origin where Santa sits.
  3. Line C (register for free ice cream cone) goes through points (–3, –1) and (3, 9).
  4. Line D (salad bar) has the following table.
x 2 3 4 5
y 1 4.5 8 11.5

By all means, add on exhibits, etc. that meet the learning needs of your students.


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