Task of the Week: Hydrant sought
The current “Task of the Week” is about the hydrant sign, which might have been noticed frequently in everyday life. By means of them, hydrants can be quickly and precisely located, e.g. for fire-fighting operations. But how exactly is such a sign read? With this question, the students are confronted in the task “Hydrant sought” from the trail “Campus Griebnitzsee” in Potsdam.
Task: Hydrant sought (task number: 1047)
On the house is a reference to the next hydrant attached (red-white sign). How far is the hydrant from the sign in meters? Determine the result to the second decimal place.
In order to solve the problem, the sign must at first be interpreted correctly. If the students do not know it, the hints help them. The indication on the sign is to be read so that one runs a certain length in meters in one direction (left/right) and then turns at right angles and again runs the length of the second number in meters. The situation can thus be described and solved using a right-angled triangle. The two indications on the hydrant sign (in the picture, they are made unrecognizable in order to ensure the presence of the pupils) are the cathets, while the direct distance corresponds with the hypotenuse. This can be determined by means of the Theorem of Pythagoras. Further, the solution can be determined and valued through measuring the distance to the hydrant. The problem is therefore to be assigned to geometry and can be used as a practical application for this from class 9 onwards with the development of the Theorem of Pythagoras. Since hydrant signs can be found in many places, the task can easily be transferred to other sites and allows mathematical operations in the environment in an easy way.