You have been contracted as a team of civil engineers to design certain sections of a highway. It is your job to design the road so that there are smooth transitions between sections of the road with different grades (or slopes). It is also important to locate the storm sewers appropriately. After working out the mathematics of the road design, you need to provide the surveyors and construction crew with charts giving the exact elevations of various sections of the roadway and drains.
You are to solve the first three highway design problems that are described in the Highway Slope Design: Student Resource Book. You are encouraged to work together in solving the problems, then each of you is to write up your report individually.
In writing up your solution, keep in mind that the construction manager of a project of this kind is interested in your results. Your technical report should clearly and immediately state your results, then give supporting documentation. This may seem abrupt or rude since we are accustomed to beginning a letter with a personal greeting. A technical report or memo should start with the final result, then give supporting documentation, and finally close with a person greeting or expression of appreciation for being able to work on this project.
A video presentation of this problem will be shown in class on Monday, October 6. The video is an interview with a civil engineer who solved this problem as part of his job. He discusses his job as a civil engineer, gives some indication of how his education prepared him for this job, and gives some background on this problem. The video runs about 30 minutes. A handout with all the information you need for this problem will be available as a handout in class on Monday. You may have some time in class on Tuesday to discuss this problem as a group.
Although you are encouraged to work together to solve the various parts of this problem, you are each to write up a report of the solution individually. During the next two weeks, we will continue with the ordinary class work of calculus. If you come to class with questions about this problem, you may use part of the class period for discussion of the problem.
The Sight Distance Problem (discussed at the end of the Student Resource Book) has important implications for determining safe driving distances and identifying passing and no-passing zones. (Why?) To solve the sight distance problem, you will need to make use of properties of parabolas beyond those discussed in the Student Resource Book.
Your paper for this project will be a formal technical report containing the data and charts of information that will be used by those who are working at the construction sites. Your report should be presented as a formal memo on you firm's letterhead stationary. (Give your firm a name. If you are feeling creative, you may design a simple logo for your firm.) As an appendix to your memo, attach your calculations, clearly showing how you calculated your results. The formal memorandum should be word-processed, and does not need to be any more than two or three pages long. The appendix showing your calculations may be handwritten, and should be legible.
The audience for your paper: You are writing this report for the person in the Highway Department who contracted your services. Although this person is knowledgeable about issues of highway safety and construction, you may not assume that this person has taken calculus recently.
Your report will be graded on format, writing style, mathematical content and correctness, and evidence of synthesis and integration of the concepts.
Your report should make a good -- professional -- first impression. It should be word-processed, and should look like a professional memo. (Mathematical notations may be written in neatly by hand.
Write your report in standard English. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. You should use a spell checker (or ask a friend to proof-read your work). In a technical report of this kind, it is important to give the result clearly and immediately, then include supporting documentation and calculations.
Your solutions should be mathematically correct. Show enough of your work that your reader can easily understand how you got your results.
The depth of your responses to questions posed by this scenario will give an indication of how well you have internalized ideas about functions, rates of change, and applications of the derivative.