Monday, November 5, 2012

Having Students Blueprint Their Own Parking Lot






We park in them daily but do we ever stop to ask what really goes into the process of designing parking lots? Clearly some white chalk and measuring but anything else? Yes, quite a lot actually. Most parking lots are a product of careful planning by land surveyors and business owners attempting to maximize space while abiding to local zoning laws. Do we use perpendicular or angled parking? What happens if the lot is oddly shaped? How do we insure everyone can safely enter, park and exit the lot with as little backup and congestion as possible? I can think of no better way to find out then to have your students design a parking lot.



You Will Need:



-Groups of four

-Four types of pre-drawn parking lots (you could make them square, rectangle, Pentagonal or even oval). I would use either heavy construction paper or poster board. See pic

Example


-Rulers

-Pencils

-Markers

-Four match box cars to serve as a model



The Goal:


The goal is for students to maximize the amount of parking spaces within their parking lot while also providing lanes for the cars to enter and exit the parking spaces and the lot and then to discuss what math they used, could have used, or used without them noticing.



Steps:



Step 1: Split the class up into 4 groups and give each group the needed supplies listed above

Step 2: Assign each group a pre-drawn parking lot.

Step 3: Have each group come up with the type of business they are opening and create a business name as well.

Step 4: Explain to the groups that the goal is to maximize the amount of parking spaces within their parking lot while also providing lanes for the cars to enter and exit the parking spaces and the lot.

Step 5: Have each student measure the length and width of their matchbox car and explain that each parking space must account for the width of opened doors.

Step 6: Students should use a pencil to begin with before using a marker

Step 7: The goal at this point is to provide as little structure as possible and let students discuss strategies among themselves.



After Project Discussion:


After the work is completed the instructor should ask why each group decided on their design and if they think they maximized their parking spaces for their business. After group discussions a classroom discussion could be held on how each group could have bettered their design using different angled parking spaces. See below curtsey of RWCG





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