The Muddy City—Minimal Spanning Trees

This The Muddy City—Minimal Spanning Trees activity also includes:

What is the most efficient way to ensure everyone is connected? Individual pupils determine the least expensive route to pave roads in a fictional city. In doing so, they learn to find the minimal spanning tree for the situation. They find out that connecting networks in such a way is important in many applications.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Have individuals share their path if it is different from one already shared
  • Create another Muddy City with a different number of houses to determine the number of paths needed to connect all of them
Classroom Considerations
  • Each individual needs approximately 40 counters
  • The lesson plan uses an activity that younger pupils can accomplish, though the topic is usually reserved for older classes
  • One task may not be enough to cement the learning
  • There is no assessment to determine understanding