civilization

MODELLING CIVILIZATION

[Inspired by http://janettehughes.ca/lab/make-me]

In this activity, we will use ideas from the story Anno’s Magic Seeds, written by Mitsumasa Anno, who made this comment about his story:

A long, long time ago, human beings learned to grow plants for their food and other needs. They sowed seeds in the ground and fertilized them; they protected their growing plants from harmful birds and insects. They prayed to God for rain. And when their harvest produced more food than they needed, commerce and trade began, and calculating and bargaining and other things we may think as typical of civilization. And then, unfortunately, some people began to quarrel and fight with each other.

I don’t mean to refer in this book to all of these difficult matters. Yet I think you will find that many events in our real world are quite a lot like things that happen in this story. I hope you will find this interesting.

1. Read pages 1-8 of the story Anno’s Magic Seeds.

Here is a summary of the first 8 pages:

  • The Wizard gives Jack 2 magic seeds.
  • Jack eats 1 seed, which magically means he won’t be hungry for 1 year.
  • He plants the other in the ground, which at the end of the year, gives him 2 new seeds.
  • He eats 1 and plants the other.
  • He gets 2 new seeds at the end of the year.
  • He eats 1 and plants the other.
  • And this pattern continues for several years.

a) Complete the table below to record the number of seeds in each of 5 years.

b) What might Jack do differently?

c) How will the seeds pattern change?

 

2. Read pages 9-14 of the story.

Here is a summary of these pages:

  • Jack decides to try something different.
  • The next year, Jack plants both seeds, and finds something else to eat for the year.
  • The 2 seeds give him 4 new seeds.
  • He eats 1 and plants the other 3.
  • He gets 6 new seeds at the end of the year.
  • He eats 1 and plants the rest.
  • And this pattern continues for several years.

a) Complete the table below to record the number of seeds in each of next 10 years.

b) Find the difference between consecutive terms in the “seeds planted” column. What pattern do you notice?

c) Plot the (year, seeds planted) values on the grid below.

 

3. The Python code below represents the pattern in pages 1-8 of the story.

a) Go to cemc.uwaterloo.ca/console. Enter and run the code.

b) Edit the code to represent the second growing pattern.

c) Here’s another way to code the second pattern

d) Edit the code to represent other scenarios that Jack may have considered.

 

4. Let’s try it with Scratch

a) Here’s one way to code first pattern: scratch.mit.edu/projects/181335424/#editor

b) Here’s one way to code second pattern: scratch.mit.edu/projects/217037939/#editor

c) Here’s another way to code second pattern: scratch.mit.edu/projects/181350520/#editor

d) Edit the code to represent other scenarios that Jack may have considered.

 

5. The Python code and graph below also represent the pattern in pages 1-8 of the story.

This Python code is written as a Jupyter Notebook. To learn more about Jupyter Notebook, please visit jupyter.org . The Jupyter Notebook is a powerful web application used by computational scientists,  which allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text.

a) Install Jupyter Notebook on your computer. Enter and run the code.

b) Edit the code to represent the second growing pattern.

c) Edit the code to represent other scenarios that Jack may have considered.

 

6. Let’s consider more scenarios:

  • What if Jack has a family?
    • How will his family pant and eat seeds?
    • How will the pattern change?
  • Should they save some seeds?
    • In case a weather event destroys his plants?
    • For their children’s education?
  • Will they need more land as the number of seeds they plant increases?
    • Should they trade some of their seeds to buy more land?
  • Should they contribute some seeds to their community?
    • For people in need?
    • For building infrastructure (roads, schools, etc)?
  • What else might affect how Jack’s family plants their seeds?

a) Edit your code from #3 and #4 above to take into account some of the ideas above.

b) Share and discuss your code with others.

 

7. Interview with Western Applied Mathematician Lindi Wahl.

a) Go to researchideas.ca/wmt/c2b5.html

b) Watch videos 5, 6 and 7.

c) What did you learn that relates to the Salary Options and Seeds problems?

d) What else did you learn?