This activity requires students to use computer software to try to save a space borne tourist attraction, AstroZoo, which has various exotic space creatures, but has fallen on hard times. The zoo was once a great success, but bad management has seen oxygen reserves exhausted, creature enclosures overpopulated, power supplies depleted and temperatures soaring.
Students must use mathematics to discover how many creatures each dome can support with the available oxygen, find the right balance between food- and oxygen-producing plants, stabilise the temperature by optimising the numbers of power-producing panels and heat shields, and, finally, solve a predator/prey problem for a new dome.
The students’ task is to find sustainable solutions for the creatures in each case so that they can do well – and so attract space tourists back to the zoo. The AstroZoo case study supports 4-5 one hour lessons of classroom activity with the option for related homework activities.
A mixture of whole class and small group work is involved. This activity provides opportunities for students to consider how mathematics is represented by identifying the mathematical aspects of the situation and selecting the mathematical information, methods and tools to use.
The mathematics students are expected to use includes rules of arithmetic applied to calculations and manipulations with both rational and decimal numbers, applications of ratio and proportion, including calculations of percentages, accuracy and rounding, substitution into algebraic formulae , compound measures and conversions, perimeters, areas, surface areas and volumes.
To use this resource:
• download the zip file
• extract all of the files
• run the start file