## Tuesday, March 16, 2010

### Box and String, Part 1

Math is not just calculations. It is often thinking and THEN calculations. Then some more thinking.

Here are 3 boxes. The dimensions of the boxes are the same - 1 high, 2 deep and 3 wide. A string or ribbon is drawn around the boxes, but in each case it goes a different way around.

However, since the string goes around the whole box each time, could the length of the string remain the same? How would you calculate the length of each string?

How would you calculate the length of each string? Besides measuring it!

We could try creating a formula or writing equations.

We have H, D and W dimensions to worry about. In each case the string goes across two different sides, twice.  So there are 4 lengths of strings added together. Or two lengths multiplied by two.

To make sure we don't forget anything, we'll include the third side in each formula, but multiply its length by zero (the product will equal zero and not affect our answer).

The string's length on box 1 is the sum of (0 x H) + (2 x D) + (2 x W)

The string on box 2 is the sum of (2 x H) + (0 x D) + (2 x W)

The string on box 3 is the sum of (2 x H) + (2 x D) + (0 x W)

Now solve!

Why would you care? Well what would happen if you bought tape for a busy company, and one of your packers wrapped the tape around as shown on box 2 (above), and the other wrapped as shown in box 3?

Even if they did the same number of boxes, they would use vastly different amounts of tape! Think how much sleep would be lost by the Supreme Warehouse Commander in your company! Our Supreme Warehouse Commander is very precise about this sort of thing.

Just putting the tape gun sideways on the box for the photo might earn me a "What are you doing there?" Could he have been trained as an engineer?