A “field trip” like no other, Interactions takes middle and high school students on-site to meet professionals in fields ranging from sports to space exploration, to discover the role that middle school math concepts play in solving real-life problems.
Judo and percentages. Designing sunglasses and statistics. Recycling and fractions. These connections, and more, become apparent as engineers, designers, musicians, athletes and others explain how they meet the day-to-day challenges of their professions.
Teacher and student materials accompanying the series enable students to become “colleagues” of the professionals they meet and use their math skills to plan their own recycling programs, to monitor the recovery of endangered animals, to design vehicles to explore other planets, to calculate the power generated by solar cells, and so on.
Solar Energy: Can people in remote rural areas who are far from electric generating plants get power for their lights and appliances? Solar cells make it possible. Mechanical and electrical engineers at the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories take viewers through the process of designing and installing solar cell panels in remote locations. Geometry, Percents
Water Resources: What does it take to estimate how much water a large city will need 25 years into the future? The chief of urban water conservation for the State of California explains the challenges of supplying water to a growing population of millions, much of which lives in the desert. Patterns/Functions, Measurement
Endangered Species: Can we bring back species that are on the brink of extinction? A Native American wildlife biologist, Robert Mesta, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, combines scientific training and traditional Indian values to help bring the Arizona bald eagle off the Â ”endangered species” list. Ratios, Patterns
Recycling: A few years ago, Seattle, Washington faced an overwhelming garbage crisis. City planners and engineers describe how they created a recycling program that has become a model for the nation. Viewers will see, from beginning to end, how the recycling process gets done. Percents, Fractions
Digital Communication: What is the information “Superhighway” really all about? Communications engineers at GTE, and US WEST provide a remarkably clear introduction to the basic concepts of the digital communications revolution. Viewers will see how 1′s and 0′s represent graphics, video, and even sounds. Exponents, Patterns/Functions, Powers of 10
Making Music: Do musicians really use much math? A composer takes students behind the scenes as she creates music for HBO’s “Comic Relief,” and a renowned percussionist demonstrates the Â rhythmic patterns used in jazz, rock, hip-hop and other popular music styles. Ratios, Proportions, Fractions
The Fashion Business: In a rare visit to the design studios and factory at Levi Strauss & Company. design, marketing and sales professionals reveal how they meet the demand for America’s favorite clothing. Viewers may never look at jeans the same way again. Decimals, Percents, Statistics
Coaching an Athlete: What young athlete doesn’t dream of being in the Olympics? From a five mile run at dawn, to workouts on the mats, the head judo coach for the U.S. Olympic Training Team uses math to create training programs that put athletes at the peak of physical ability. Percents, Statistics
Designing a Product: How is a pair of sunglasses like a coffee maker? Both are the end result of problem-solving. A senior product designer at Bausch and Lomb, takes viewers into the design studios and factory to see how a new style of Ray Bans(r) are created and manufactured. Statistics, Percents, Geometry
Building a Rover: To traverse the surface of the Moon or Mars, a vehicle must be able to think for itself. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s testing ground, a team of scientists demonstrates the rover that will soon wander over the Martian landscape. Geometry, Patterns/Functions
Voyage to Mars: How do you plot a course to Mars, from one moving planet to another? What are the impacts of space travel on the body and can human beings survive the trip? Viewers will take a look at the plans for a flight to the Red Planet. Geometry, Decimals
Deep Sea Missions: It’s cold; it’s dark. The pressure is immense. A. pilot and scientist from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute navigate a remotely operated deep-sea vehicle through underwater canyons, filming the ocean floor and collecting samples. Geometry, Ratios, Patterns/Functions
Each episode can be purchased separately for $24.95