February 4, 2010

Real Life Math

My daughter was working on this math problem last night:
You are designing a rectangular picnic cooler with length 4 times its width and height 2 times its width.  The cooler has insulation that is 1 inch thick on each of the four sides and 2 inches thick on the top and bottom.  Let x represent the width of the cooler.  What is a polynomial function C(x) in standard form for the volume of the inside of the cooler?
Every single one of us, at some time during our school years, lamented the same thing about math, "When will I ever use this in real life?"  In a rather un-parental moment, I suggested to my daughter that if she really wanted a meaningful answer to the question, she should go to the refrigerator and figure out how many Shiner bottles she could fit into her imaginary 'picnic cooler'.  Then ensued a discussion on the correct ratio of ice to beer bottle, to achieve optimum drinking temperature.  
Putting a round bottle into a square container, there is space between each bottle, and the smaller circumference of the neck portion of the bottle provides an additional amount of space for ice, when bottles are placed standing upright.  I have not yet perfected the formula, but put forth a hypothesis suggesting that long neck bottles establish the proper ice ratio unto themselves.  Of course, proper drinking temperature will be affected by the ambient air temperature.  To adhere to the scientific method, much testing is required.  Who's in?

2 comments:

H2o said...

Make it a Smirnoff and I'm game.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

The proper ratio of Bud Light to any receptacle can be described as follows:

one drink box = enough
any ice = enough
Bud Light < enough