Formula One driver Nick Hiedfeld (BMW-Sauber team) was interviewed by some of my Year 11 and 12 students just prior to the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. Nick, who placed second in the first Grand Prix of the season, discussed with the students their mathematical analysis of the race.
The interview was a part of the mathematics curriculum designed in association with the Intel® Education Australia Program with the opportunity being provided by Ludmila Fedorovitch, Education Program Manager for Intel Australia. The unit was designed to assist students to use mathematics to better appreciate the value of working in teams.
Students made estimates of the speeds at which Nick would be travelling around each of the sixteen turns on the Albert Park track and discussed the forces that act upon the car and the driver.
The unit hangs on the essential question, “What Makes for Success?”, and is focused specifically upon teamwork through the unit questions, “What skills are important?” and “Why are teams important?” The F1 Grand Prix team was chosen as a context within which students could explore these questions, after which they applied their findings to a broader perspective. Students analysed the task of the F1 team, and worked in teams to examine what driving around the track would look like mathematically. Each team evaluated a section of the circuit, eventually combining their results with those of the other teams to develop a picture of speed and acceleration patterns around the entire track.
This meeting with Nick was reported in the Herald Sun on Tuesday March 18.