Group Project Instructions


We are making a few changes to the requirements for the Group Project (don’t worry, it’s getting easier!).  In particular, we will no longer require a significant written portion of the project.  However, we  still expect you to make a presentation — the presentation will take the place of your written report, and should touch on all the aspects of the project you completed.  Take a close look at the “Project End Products” and “Project Calendar” sections below, and note the upcoming deadline this Saturday, November 12!

Project Criteria. Your project should include:

  1. a connection to the Brooklyn Bridge or its surroundings.  Some possible connections include:  physics of bridges, city streets of DUMBO, ecology of the Brooklyn Bridge park, pollution in the New York waterways, etc.  If you have an idea but are not sure if it is appropriate, just ask!
  2. a connection to mathematics.  In your project, you should illustrate some way in which mathematics describes the real world.  In a project about the physics or architecture of bridges, for example, you could find an equation which approximates the shape of the main cables.
  3. a hands-on component, something that your group collaborates to build or create, such as a model or map.

Groups. Groups must consist of 3-5 members, and must contain at least one student from each of the class sections (Professor Halleck’s and Professor Reitz’).

Project end-products:

  1. Hands-on component, model or 3D map (of a bridge, park, or other location or structure), a brochure (a tourist map) or an informational handout.
  2. Presentation. You will prepare a short presentation (no more than 5 or 6 PowerPoint slides) describing your project and activities.  A class day is set aside for presentations near the end of the semester, and slides will be submitted for credit.

Sample Projects

Physics of bridges. What makes a bridge stay up?  How do we build a better bridge? Research the physics of bridges and describe one or more of the principles that bridge-builders use when designing a bridge.  Compare the Brooklyn Bridge with your research and discuss its design.  Build a model bridge out of toothpicks and test it to see how much weight it will hold.

Mathematics of street-sweepers. Street-sweepers need to follow a route that sweeps every street in a given neighborhood.  It is a waste of time for them to travel down the same stretch of street twice.  How are street-sweeping routes designed to avoid this problem?  Research the mathematical principles behind this problem, and apply your research to design an efficient street-sweeping route for the DUMBO neighborhood.  Determine the actual street-sweeping routes in DUMBO – are they efficient?  Create a large-scale or 3D map of DUMBO comparing your route and the actual routes.

Project Calendar

Tuesday 9/13/11: Brooklyn Bridge field trip.  Use this opportunity to make a connection with a student or students in the other class section.

Tuesday 9/27/11: Project idea proposal due.  You are working in pairs within your section to come up with project ideas. Post your project idea on the Discussion area of the site under the topic “Group Project Ideas” (be sure to include the names of both people working together, and which section you are in) by noon on Tuesday, 9/27. The top 10 projects submitted in each section will be selected by Professors Halleck and Reitz, and you will be paired up with students from the other section to form a group of 3-4 students.  Professors Halleck and Reitz will respond to your project description on the OpenLab discussion board in the topic “Group Project Ideas”, and will work with you to establish a timeline and series of goals for the rest of the semester — please wait until your project is approved to begin work.

Saturday, November 12. Individual progress report 1 (20% of project grade).  Each student must submit an individual report of at least 200 words, written in complete sentences.  These reports should be submitted on the OpenLab discussion area, under the topic “Individual progress reports for group projects 1”.  Your report should include: 

  1. A description of your project and all of its parts:
    1. an overall description (what is your project?)
    2. a description of the hands-on component
    3. a description of the math & science component.
  2. A description of your part in the project:
    1. What have you contributed so far?
    2. What will you contribute?

Thursday, November 17th. Group work day.  Today we will mix up our classes, with groups 1-9 meeting in Mr. Halleck’s room (N416) and groups 10-18 meeting in Mr. Reitz’ room (N705).  The day will include a short lecture on new material, followed by a chance for groups to work together.  Your group assignment is:  Finalize coordination of the project — what exactly needs to be done?  Who is doing what?  When will each of you complete your tasks?  This information will be reported by each student on the OpenLab (see below).

Saturday, November 19th. Individual progress report 2 (20% of grade). Each student must submit an individual report on the group meeting, respond to the following questions related to your in-class group meeting on Thursday, November 17. Your answer should consist of 1-2 paragraphs (not just a list), using complete sentences. These reports should be submitted on the OpenLab discussion area, under the topic “Individual progress reports for group projects 2”.

  • What was accomplished in your meeting?
  • Were there any changes to your project as a result of your meeting?
  • Describe the work that remains to be done on your project.  What will you contribute to the remainder of the project?  Be specific and give details (instead of “I will work to make the project a success”, describe specific contributions such as “I will take a trip to the bridge on November 20th with my group member Bob Q., and we will observe the food vendors on the pedestrian pathway, collecting data on the number of vendors and the prices for various items”).
  • Give a specific example of a math or science connection in your project (instead of “the physics of bridges,” give a particular example such as “the load on a bridge is found by adding up all the forces acting on the bridge, which include the weight of all the pedestrians, cars, and trains on the bridge”).
  • Having reached the halfway point of the project, reflect on the experience so far.  While working  in a group carries many frustrations (including communication, scheduling, and so on), comment on any positive aspects of the group experience.  What do you think are some of the reasons we are asking you to work in groups in this way?

Tuesday, November 29th. First draft of presentation and first look at hands-on component (20% of grade).  One group member should submit the first draft of your presentation.  Presentations should be completed in Microsoft PowerPoint (or similar program), and submitted to Professor Halleck and Professor Reitz by email.  In addition, a photo, draft, or other “first look” at your hands-on project should be submitted by email (for example, if you are building a model you can send a photo showing your progress so far, if you are designing a poster you can send a copy of the work completed, and so on).  Your group will receive feedback on your presentation no later than Saturday, December 3rd.
Your presentation should:

  • consist of 5-7 slides
  • last no more than 4 minutes (you must practice your presentation at home — do it in front of the mirror — and make sure you can complete it in 4 minutes)

The slides should include at least the following:

  • Title slide, with the project title and brief description, names of group members (and which section each one is in), and group number.
  • At least one slide describing what you did, how you did it, and what you learned in the course of your project
  • Slide describing the math & science component
  • Slide describing your hands-on component (this will be your opportunity to show the group what you created)
  • Summary slide


Friday, December 9. Final draft of presentation (20% of grade).  Your final draft should incorporate any suggestions provided in response to your first draft.  Submit by email to Professors Halleck and Reitz.  Your presentation will be loaded onto the podium in the Atrium Amphitheater for our group presentations next Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 13. Presentations (20% of grade).  Presentation will be held in the Atrium Amphitheater on the ground floor of the Atrium building.  You will be presenting to both classes, together with some visitors from the mathematics department.  You may invite your friends to come watch if you wish.  Be sure to bring BOTH a copy of your presentation, and your finished hands-on component.

4 Responses to Group Project Instructions

  1. sbailey says:

    My partner (jaribel Abreu) and i (Shavon Bailey)came up with the idea for a group project called “A long walk” 1.where we would measue the Brooklyn Bridge and find out how many pairs of sneakers you would need to cover the bridge 2. how many steps would it take to cross the brooklyn bridge.

    from proff. halleck class

    • Jonas Reitz says:

      Dear Shavon and Jaribel,

      ** Sorry, the comment below was put up before I saw your “Individual Progress Reports”. My bad! -Mr. Reitz **

      I think this is an interesting idea! However, it’s late to be starting something completely new. Furthermore, the two of you are already assigned to group #4, including Nahim M and Andrea R (in Mr. Reitz’ class), with an approved topic (calculating how much paint would be required to paint the surface of the plank portions of the bridge). The group assignments can be found on this page:

      Group Project Assignments

      Have you been in touch with Nahim and Andrea? Please explain.
      Mr. Reitz

  2. omargani says:

    Omar Gani: Professor Reitz (group 11)
    I am working on various modes of transportation, traffic congestion
    hands on and also find pictures of the bridges at various stages of its
    life and make research on internet. My project is about calculating many people, cars, trains, bikes, and walking use the bridge daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I also making slide show of the bridge at various stages of its life and find different types of transportation. The research in the internet for interesting finding pictures. I am also trying to built model of bridge with tooth pick and it is physic component. I also trying to find more about my group and trying to discuss more about the project.

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