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**THE VERY BIG AND THE VERY SMALL: HUNKERING DOWN WITH OPTIMIZATION
**

CALCULUS | PACKER COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE

Close your eyes and imagine… wait, are your eyes closed? how are you reading this? okay, open your eyes. So

you’re in a bucolic countryside with fields and fields of rolling green grass. You want to create a beautiful

Martha Stewart-esque garden, and fence it in. You want it to be a rectangle, and you want it to be big – as big

as possible!

Draw a picture of your garden, and label the sides x and y . Put some

flowers in your garden.

How big can your garden be?

Above is a 3D graph. The x-axis represents ______________________, the y-axis represents

______________________, and the z-axis represents ______________________.

List 3 points on the graph: (a) ( , , ) (b) ( , , ) (c) ( , , )

Is there any limitation on how large z can be?

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

y (width)

x(length)

Okay, so clearly there is something wrong with our model. We want to maximize our area, but in the real

world, there are going to be constraints! Let’s impose a constraint that you’ve bought 1,542 feet of fencing

with which to enclose the garden.

What are you trying to maximize? (Main) Equation for that:

What is the constraint? (Helper) Equation for that:

Now we need to impose the constraint onto the main equation, what we’ll call the Optimizing Equation:

Notice that our original main equation with no constraints had _____ variables.

But once we imposed our constraint, our optimized equation has _____ variables.

The graph for our optimized equation looks like:

The horizontal-axis represents:

______________________

The vertical-axis represents:

_______________________

What we’re trying to maximize

in this problem is:

_______________________

Draw a star at the point on the

graph that corresponds to what

we’re trying to maximize:

What is the calculus term for

where this star is located on the

graph?

_______________________

100 200 300 400 500 600 700

10000

20000

30000

40000

50000

60000

70000

80000

90000

100000

110000

120000

130000

140000

150000

Notice that once we imposed our constraint to the problem, our unlimited garden became a limited garden.

We had the limitation of fencing, so we couldn’t make the garden super infinitely large anymore.

Of course, you should also conclude that to find the “best” we can do under constraints, that will refer to the

relative maxima or minima on a graph. And we know how to find those! We simply: ___________________

________________________________________________________________________________.

So let’s use calculus to find the maximum area!

For each of the following equations, try to come up with a Main Equation and a Helper Equation. [Hint:

Some do not have a helper equation because the constraint is built right in]

1. How should two nonnegative numbers be chosen so that their sum is 1 and the sum of their squares is:

(a) as large as possible

(b) as small as possible

MAIN: HELPER:

2. A rectangular field is to be founded by a fence on three sides and by a straight stream on the fourth side.

Find the dimensions of the field with maximum area that can be enclosed using 1000 ft of fence.

Picture:

MAIN: HELPER:

3. A rectangular plot of land is to be fenced in using two kinds of fencing. Two opposite sides will use heavy-

duty fencing selling for $3 a foot, while the remaining two sides will use standard fencing selling for $2 a

foot. What are the dimensions of the rectangular plot of greatest area that can be fenced in at a cost of

$6000?

Picture:

MAIN: HELPER:

4. A rectangle is to be inscribed in a right triangle having sides of length 6 in, 8 in, and 10 in. Find the

dimensions of the rectangle with the greatest area, assuming the rectangle is positioned as in the figure

below:

MAIN: HELPER:

5. Suppose that the number of bacteria in a culture at time t is given by

/ 20

5000(25 )

t

N te

÷

= + .

(a) Find the largest and smallest number of bacteria in the culture during the time interval 0 100 t s s ?

(b) At what time during the time interval in part (a) is the number of bacteria decreasing most rapidly?

MAIN: HELPER:

6. A cylindrical can, open at the top, is to hold 500 cm

3

of liquid. Find the height and radius that minimizes

the amount of material needed to manufacture the can.

Picture:

MAIN: HELPER:

8 in 10 in

6 in

7. An open box is to be made from a 16-inch by 30-inch piece of cardboard by cutting out squares of equal

size from the four corners and bending up the sides. What size should the squares be to obtain a box with

the largest volume?

MAIN: HELPER:

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