Blog Post

I Use Matrices in Everyday Life, Do You?

I am teaching a Finite Math class this semester and the majority of students in the class are business majors.  I’m trying to make the class as relevant to them as possible, so I’ve been reading magazines such as INC, and Entrepreneur to try to get ideas for things that I can talk about in class.  Well, here is one problem I came up with for my lesson on multiplying matrices.  And by the way, I put a copy of the pie chart from the magazine on the Document Camera before even starting (I brought the magazine to class, actually).

According to INC Magazine (March 2011), 54% of workers describe their workplaces coffee as tolerable, 30% great, 10% terrible, and 6% other.  Use matrices to answer the following questions:

1.  If a company has 5040 employees, how many fall in each category?
2.  Within this company, there are 3000 people in sales and 2040 people in marketing, how many from each department fall in each category?
3.  Using the results from part 2, how many employees in marketing thought that the coffee was terrible?
4.  Use matrix multiplication to verify that the row totals in part 2 match your answer from part 1.

By Jon Oaks

College Math Instructor. Tech Enthusiast. Visionary. Creative Genius. But above all, I enjoy what I do. That is why I am a teacher. Because I like to teach.

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