Linear Programming Project Ideas

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Linear programming projects can help your high school students investigate and discover real-world uses for this concept. From the perspective of business owners, students will apply knowledge to maximizing space, product delivery, and personnel.

Linear Programming Projects

Linear programming projects are important because they take the concept from the math textbook to the real world. In these projects, students will apply their knowledge to authentic scenarios from the perspective of a business owner. You can guide students through knowledge application by engaging them in team, partner, or independent projects. Throughout the projects, students will have an opportunity to determine the best use of money, space, time, and people to maximize both profit and efficiency.

Business Sense

In this project, students take on the perspective of an entrepreneur calculating the viability of her business plan. Provided a realistic scenario, students can explore various options for the number of products they must produce in order to turn a profit. They must also incorporate some constraints into the process, such as the maximum number of products their machinery can produce in an allotted time period. Students will present their findings by producing a portion of a business plan to help them acquire funding. They should work on the premise that the more realistic a picture they provide, the better the chances it will be approved.

  • Materials: realistic business scenario including constraints, calculation worksheet and coding examples to guide students through the process (for added support), example business plan(s), access to word processing or publishing software, color printer (if possible), access to technology for coding

  1. Provide students with the scenario.
  2. Provide students with time to identify the exact problem they are trying to solve, breaking the scenario down to identify variables, objective function, and constraints.
  3. Provide time for students to graph and complete their calculations to determine the optimum number of items they should produce in a day to earn the biggest profit. For added support, provide a calculation worksheet and coding examples.
  4. Provide students with example(s) of a business plan.
  5. Ask students to create the manufacturing and profit portions of the business plan.
  6. Provide them with access to word-processing or publishing software to craft their business plan component in a presentable manner.
  7. Partner or team students to present their findings to classmates.
  8. Provide time for analysis, reflection, and a determination of changes they may make to their plan based on peer and teacher feedback.

Supply Chain

In this project, students will take on the perspective of an established business owner in the manufacturing and distribution industry. You will provide them with a realistic scenario that requires maximizing warehouse space, equipment, and personnel to solve supply chain problems. Then, students will tackle the problems faced by using linear programming. Lastly, students will present their proposed changes to a panel of company executives (classmates) to determine if the solution is viable.

  • Materials: explanation and examples of supply chain, realistic scenario with mapped route, specifications, and constraints, plenty of blank paper and pencils, calculation worksheets and coding examples (for added support), access to technology for coding

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