| Snow Day Calculator
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Aug 2, 2012, 9:43am
|Snow Day - Photo by Scott Anderson - Flickr|
A Fun Way to Use Math
Math and science do not have to be boring. Take the case of David Sukhin; in sixth grade David decided to put his math skills to use to make a snow day calculator. As of 2011, he has had a five-year perfect accuracy rating on the resulting program! Wow! I think perhaps he has a future as a meteorologist (weatherman).
Although his algorithm is a secret, David tapped into the NOAA weather.gov information, and then he gave careful thought to the things that might help predict the possibility of any particular school calling a snow day.
Snow Day Factors
So, where did David start? What do you take into account when you are trying to come up with an equation that will predict something like a Snow Day? Here are some of the variables that he decided would factor into this particular decision, and help him come up with the best Snow Day Calculator ever:
- The type of school, whether it is a private, public, charter, boarding, urban public, or rural public school.
- How many snow days have been called this year
- Whether the administration (Principal) easy, okay, or harsh
- Whether or not there is a special event or activity planned for that day
- Whether or not the school is in the mountains
- How much hype there is about all the snow and the possibility of a snow day, and he explains how the administrations reaction to the hype should affect their leniency rating.
- The zip code of the school
Then he factors in information on the storm
- The percentage chance of a storm happening
- The estimated start and end time of the storm
- The temperature outside at 7 AM
- The date and day of the week
Putting all these things together with the equation that David designed, he has been able to accurately predict whether or not a particular school will call a snow day.
What sort of interesting problem could you put math and science to work to solve for you? Although it may seem that math isn't usually put to use doing anything interesting, it's all a matter of picking your problem. Pick something that you find interesting, and then put math and/or science to work to figure it out.
Maybe you will figure out an equation to help predict whether or not a particular snowboarding slope is at risk for an avalanche. However, you may have no interest in snowy weather. You may love snorkeling, scuba diving, or surfing, and want to figure out something to do with the waves in the ocean, or the possibility of a red tide and how it might effect visibility underwater.
Maybe you are not into the outdoors at all. If your passion is decorating, you might want to design a calculator that helps you figure out paint and wallpaper amounts for difficult rooms with oddly shaped walls.
Regardless of what your passion is, there are ways to use math and science in fun and interesting ways.
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