Max and Min ProblemsLesson Plans > Mathematics > Calculus > Differential > Max and Min
Max and Min Problems
The problems in this slide show are not terribly difficult to solve; the purpose is not to provide a challenge to students. Rather, the purpose is to show them real world situations in which calculus is helpful. Each problem was designed to show a reasonable portrayal of actual scenarios faced by people in different professions (physicist, farmer, retail and manufacture). The goal is for students to gain an appreciation for how calculus simplifies real world challenges.
The art store problem is probably not a reasonable function, but it at least gives students an introduction to how advanced mathematics can help stores maximize their profit.
I especially like the "can" problem; although the numbers are made up, the problem is designed to show how simple things like the shape of an aluminum can might be influenced by practical applications of calculus.
Height of Launch
h(t) = 150 + 400t - 16.1t2
What is the maximum height the rocket attains before it begins to fall to the earth?
Two Big Pig Pens
Farmer Jones has 3000 feet of fencing material. He wants to use this fencing material to create two rectangular pig pens that share a common side, and such that one of the pens is twice the area as the other. He wants to maximize his area. What dimensions should he use for the two pig pens?
Paint and Framing
Cost of a Can
A can is required to have a volume of 150p cubic centimeters. The cost of producing the top and bottom is $0.001 per square cm, and the cost of producing the side is $0.0008 per square cm. What will be the radius of the can which meets the volume criteria, but costs the least to produce? What will be the price of producing this can?