This activity will help you understand how computer models are used to help make decisions and predictions in science, business, and other fields. The online activity you will get to do explores computer models. In this activity, you get to be the business owner of a fictional slush stand in outer space!
1. Go to Slush Rush and click "Start" to begin the online activity.
2. Read the instructions for the activity by clicking the "How to Play (?)" button in the lower left of the screen. Scroll down using the arrow key on the right.
3. Click the "Back" button and then the "Learn More (!)" button to learn more about computer models.
4. Read the small instruction box and click the "X" to close it. Remember, the goal of this activity is to make more money than you spend. To do this, you want to sell slushes to the most number of "alien" customers possible. (Each alien is limited to buying only one slush.) Use the Slush Rush student sheet to record facts about your customers and the results for each round.
5. To do this activity, roll over the windows to learn about your customers, and then add ingredients by clicking the green buttons over the blender. Keep in mind that each slush costs $200, so watch your total cost. Click "Go" when your slush mix is ready to serve.
5. Watch which customers buy a slush, and track the results with the Sales Report on your student sheet. If you made a profit—or made more money than you spent—click "Next Round" to move on to the next round. If you did not make a profit, click "Try Again" to repeat the round.
6. Try to go through all five rounds. Then click "Done" and return to the esheet.
Think about what you learned doing the interactive and answer these questions on your student sheet. Then discuss your answers with the class:
- How did the model change from round to round? How did your recipe change in each round?
- Did changes in the model make it more useful?
- Were there times when it was difficult to make every customer happy? How did you decide what to do?
- If you could open a "Slush Rush" stand, would this computer model tell you exactly how many customers would purchase your slushes? Is it still helpful? Why or why not?
- Are there ways that this activity is like real life? In what ways could businesses use models like these?
Now you'll explore a different way that computer models are used—to study, predict, and prepare for earthquakes.
1. Go to the Earthquake Animation. Read and click through the three-part animation and answer these questions:
- What does this computer model show?
- What information was used to make this computer model?
- Based on the computer model, how long did it take the first seismic waves to reach San Juan?
- Why would scientists make a computer model of a 1994 earthquake? How could it help people now?
2. Next, go to Catching a Tsunami in the Act. Remember, tsunamis are large destructive waves set off by earthquakes on the ocean floor. Read the article and watch the Tsunami Animation at the bottom of the page. Then answer these questions:
- Based on the computer model, how long would it take the tsunami off the coast of South America to reach Hawaii?
- How can computer models like this one help people living along coastlines?
- Read the last paragraph. What other kind of computer model do scientists use to study the effects of tsunamis? How is this computer model used?
With a partner, write a conversation between two people who use computer models to solve problems. You could choose from any of these people or come up with your own ideas:
- A car designer
- A professional biker
- An astronomer
- A farmer
- A novice pilot
- A new business owner
- A meteorologist
Your conversation should address these questions:
- Describe a computer model that you use in your work.
- How does this computer model help you solve a problem?
- What information do you need to make your models?
This esheet is a part of the Slush Rush lesson.