Lesson Plan

Choose Your Best Way

Classic graph theory problems of the traveling salesman and bridges of Konigsburg get the school treatment in this multi-age, multi-level activity. Learners distill a local map down to a few key locations, and then detail characteristics and paths in their map. Background in the field and suggested resources allow for budding mathematicians with an interest in the field to really delve into the ideas and applications of graph theory. A great lesson for incorporating a touch of engineering application into the math classroom.

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CCSS: Designed
Additional Tags
Instructional Ideas
  • Consider using the included writing extension investigating Internet searching, or the suggested GPS presentation
  • Have learners research the history of graph theory beyond the given summary, specifically the traveling salesman and bridges of Konigsburg problems
  • Extend lesson to include one-way streets, or constraints like visiting each location only once
Classroom Considerations
  • May need to emphasize the "not drawn to scale" nature of graph theory problems, especially for concrete-thinking learners
  • Having a checkpoint where each person or group gets their map validated by the teacher before performing calculations might prevent rework at the end of the activity
  • Adaptable / appropriate for a wide variety of ages and abilities
  • Highly customizable to student interests and location
  • Classic problem with storied history, yet accessible in presentation and performance
  • Possible links to computer science and technology literacy standards
  • None