The High School Industrial Math Project Database

The WPI Industrial Mathematics Project for High School Students has developed over 20 industrial mathematics projects for high school students drawn from a variety of real-world situations. Projects are available for every level of high school mathematics, from Algebra to Calculus and Statistics. The length and scope of the projects are very flexible – a project often contains enough material for a major, semester-long endeavor, but its component parts can also be used as brief enrichment activities. Our project database contains downloadable versions of each of the projects, ready to be assigned to students.

What are industrial math projects all about?

Industrial mathematics problems are designed to connect traditional classroom subjects with real-world applications, showing students how they might use mathematics after they graduate. The projects put the focus on mathematics as a way of thinking about problems and emphasizes problem formulation in addition to problem solving. The problems encourage clear, logical thinking, connect seemingly unrelated mathematics, and very often require decisions based on imperfect information.

The current industrial projects are available by clicking on the projects menu item above. The projects deal with realistic problems from industries as divers as finance, education, insurance, manufacturing, and law enforcement, among others. Some of the specific projects include studies of standardized test data; SuperSoaker water guns; the iBot, a high-tech wheelchair; and the Amtrak train system.

How can I use these projects in my classroom?

With such a large and adaptable database of projects, you are sure to find something that is both interesting to your students and applicable to their level of mathematics. Some general suggestions for the use of these projects are as follows:

  • Every project on this site is completely ready to be downloaded and assigned. Each project contains goals for students, background information, suggested excercises, and complete sample solutions. Taken as is, these projects are challenging and stimulating activities for students that may be completed in class or outside of class, individually or in groups.
  • Each project is subdivided into a number of smaller sections, many of which can be assigned independently of each other. If time is short in your class, assign one smaller section of a project to your students as a brief but enriching activity.
  • These projects can even be the foundation of their own unique math class! At Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA, the course “Mathematical Modeling in Industry, Science, and Government” is a successful project-based mathematics course based on the material from this database. The broad scope of many of these projects makes them ideal for a long-term group activity.
  • As an added challenge for students, teachers may even choose to provide students with no more than a problem statement and some background information. Allowing students to perform their own research and devise creative solutions can have impressive results!