Coloring Outside the Lines: Einstein students apply mathematical concepts to the study of History
When Einstein math teacher Ken Simpson was in high school, he wrote a term paper on the Battle of Yorktown and its multi-day cannon siege. For years, Ken wondered about the logistics: how did the French-American joint forces get all those cannons, cannon balls, gun powder, etc. to the battlefield using only 18th-century forms of transportation?
During Enrichment Week, Einstein mathematics students figured out the answer! Ken and a group of students set out to calculate the coordination of the Battle of Yorktown, using only available historical reports. Students utilized what facts they could find, then made reasonable assumptions in order to fill in missing information and complete their calculations. Together, they determined exactly how many horses and carts would have been needed to transport supplies over miles of rough terrain, as well as the correct amount of ammunition. Students learned about cannon types, mortars, and howitzers. When they discovered information about the size of the cannonballs, but could not find any reports of their weight, they computed the weights themselves, from density numbers. In the end, Ken’s mathematics students had a well-thought-out and carefully calculated presentation that would have impressed even General Washington!