Education Technology

Trying to Find a 'Best' Fit - A Heuristic Approach

Published on 07/20/2005

Activity Overview

In this Derive™ activity, students determine the optimal location for a warehouse so that it is close to the center of a circle that passes through all the outlets of a store in the region.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached DFW file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages from the attached DFW file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity Procedures:

  • Set up a 2D plot window
  • Place a coordinate system over the region and assign each store a point on the system
  • Optimal location for the warehouse is close to the center of a circle that passes through the points representing each store
  • Understand that if center is at (c1, c2) and has a radius, r, then each of the coordinates (x, y) for the store would satisfy the equation (x ? c1)2 + (y ? c2)2 = r2
  • Use the circle equation, randomly generated seven points and find all equations
  • Evaluate the weighted averages, the average equation representing a set result, and store the values in a vector
  • Solve the set of equations for the radius, and the coordinates of the center
  • Substitute the result values in the equation of the circle, and plot a graph
  • Generate a best fitting curve
  • After the Activity

    Students answer questions listed on the activity sheet.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary