Lesson 4 Furniture design

Episode 3

Reasoning Resources: Worksheet 4 (optional)
Whole class preparation on designing other options
Man-made environment has to be based on human measurements, together with other variables. These include costs, comfort, status, fashion etc. In raising a question of the type:’What other things are designed with human measurements in mind?' move to a discussion on heights of doors:

  • What are the highest doors and lowest doors you have known?
  • What is realistic for heights of doors?
  • Idea of satisfying 9 out of 10 people in terms of heights of doors and lengths of beds may crop up. This can be extended to 90% or 95%. Implicitly we are groping for standard deviation from a mean.

    Ending the lesson with open questions.
    Worksheet 4 is an option for this episode — asking pupils to consider measurements for beds in the context of hotel design. The median value or the mean is plainly not helpful in this situation. What should they do? Is it realistic to take the tallest person in the Guinness Book of Records? What about ‘Most people?’ How to put a figure or a proportion on it?

    You may wish to set the class the task of suggesting a practical proportion, and use the class data to find the most appropriate height of a door (or length of a bed) in a hostel for school pupils their age, which must also be economical.

    This episode is designed to be more open and lead to further investigatory work by the class, including homework. It could however be managed as a whole class discussion if there is enough time in the lesson.


    Thinking Mathematics Lessons Copyright © by Michael Shayer and Mundher Adhami. All Rights Reserved.

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