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This activity challenges students to use areas of geometric shapes to compare the areas cleaned by different designs of windshield wipers. Part of the Figure This! collection of 80 challenges emphasizing real-world uses of mathematics, this activity notes the importance of calculating area for surveyors, designers, and building contractors. Students examine an animation that shows the movement of two designs of windshield wipers. The one on a passenger car has the arm attached to the end of the wiper blade, while the other, on a truck, has the arm attached to the center of a longer blade. The lengths of each wiper blade and arm are provided, as well as the angles between them. To get started, students are encouraged to draw the area cleaned by each wiper, determine its shape, and find the area of each shape. The activity contains links to a solution hint, the solution, and other similar investigations. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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