Doing school outreach for the O.R. Society

Yesterday (28th Feb 2018) two of us took an Outreach class for schoolchildren on behalf of the O.R. Society.  The ORS provided us with the basic materials and a suggested outline for the day (10:30am - midday) and (12:45pm -2:30pm) and I created a short presentation on applications which I hoped would be interesting.  The class had 25 people in it, aged about 14-15 years old.  Too young to be thinking of a career, but hopefully interested in knowing about how maths is useful in the big wide world.

The morning session was a modelling exercise leading to an LP, though it was really more of an integer programming problem.  The ORS sent bags of Lego for the children to play with and make toy chairs and tables for a problem of manufacturing related to IKEA - very relevant as IKEA opens in Exeter on May1st. 

In the afternoon I ran through some stories from OR experience (some of them have appeared in this blog).  I talked about the MacDonalds diet problem (formulate an LP with ingredients from that source and find a mix to satisfy basic constraints) and there was a bit of feedback from a generation who have grown up with the mantra "Eat five-a-day of fruit or vegetables" which would be left out of the MacDonalds diet. 

I think I missed the sense of curiosity which goes with doing Operational Research ... to look at a situation and be curious about how it works and - possibly - how it could be improved.


Popular Posts