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ESCOT Problem of the Week:
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Student Version

Search and Rescue Paths - posted January 14, 2001

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Search and Rescue: Part I


Welcome to the Helicopter Rescue Team PoW. You are now at the training center. The simulation activity on this page will acquaint you with some of the skills necessary to become a licensed pilot.

Your job in this part of flight school is to fly the helicopter from the lift-off point to the hospital and back.

Use the Training Session applet to start.

Click To Start Training Session

Your second Search and Rescue assignment is to fly to the campgrounds for MedEvac. An unskilled hiker has broken his leg and needs to be flown to the hospital. Fly to the green campground, then to the hospital, and then back to base.

Bad news! your compass has broken. You will have to specify directions by angles.

Click To Start Search and Rescue

Your final flight school exam questions require a written answer, based on the map shown below.

  1. Based on the map, write a flight plan that would fly you from the base to each of the three campgrounds, with at least one trip back to base at some point during the flight to gather more supplies, and then back to base. Each square on the map corresponds to one square mile. For each leg of the flight, you need to specify the starting point and destination, and the heading and distance, similar to what was written in the flight plans in the simulations.

  2. There are a number of possible flight plans that will accomplish your task. Describe how one way could be better than others.


Teacher Support Page

In this puzzle, you were given applets to practice with, and then you were asked to apply what you had learned to a map that wasn't interactive. That was different than most of the puzzles we've seen. I like this use of applets, but I think a lot of you didn't expect it, and maybe didn't read carefully enough to see what you were supposed to do.

I visited a lab in which some middle school students were using this ESCOT Problem of the Week. (Thanks for having me, Wilmington Friends School!) It looked as if most kids had fun with the applets and with figuring out the solution to the problem. I also noticed that some of the computers couldn't handle opening two applets one after the other -- it crashed the machine. We're going to have to pay more attention to memory issues. The other thing I saw was that some people were confused about how to get the second simulation to go with the three legs of the trip if they only entered one leg at a time. They just weren't quite sure how to go about it. It turns out that you can test the route one leg at time, or enter all three at once. It's up to you.

Looking at all the solutions submitted, here were the areas that seemed confusing to many of you. Some people got confused with the compass directions: a heading of 0 is always north, no matter where you start. Some people wrote north, south, east, and west instead of the compass headings. Some people used the second applet for their flight plan instead of the map under the question. Oops! Some people counted a diagonal in the map as one mile when it's actually a little more than that (a side of a square in the map is equal to one mile). And some people simply forgot to make a stop back at the camp.

All in all, some good work was submitted this week. There wasn't an exceptional solution submitted, but a couple are shown to give you an idea of a good answer. Take a look.

- Jody

8 students received credit this week.

Alex Acosta, age 15 - Westside High School, Houston, TX
Lee Bobbitt, age 15 - Westside High School, Houston, TX
Jasmine Branch, age 17 - Westside High School, Houston, TX
Jerson, Jr. Cometa, age 18 - Westside High School, Houston, TX
Matthew M., age 11 - Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington, DE
Sarah S., age 15 - McLean High School, McLean, VA
Mark Vuong, age 18 - Westside High School, Houston, TX
Alex W., age 14 - McLean High School, McLean, VA

View most of the solutions submitted by the students above

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