Oh, there's a field trip and this is the only section of Algebra 1 I'm teaching today? Okay kiddos, we're making some visual patterns and inundating Fawn Nguyen's email account? Ready? Go!
Sadly, two of the groups weren't able to come up with equations for their patterns during class. Sadly, those groups also weren't interested in completing the equations outside of class if it wasn't an assignment. All in all, not too shabby.
The directions were simple:
•Drop a ball from any initial height, measure in cm.
•Measure the height for 5 bounces of a ball (I suggest using a table).
•Graph the points (graph paper)
•Create an equation that models/fits your data.
•Do this for two different balls (don’t put both balls on the same graph)
The results were fabulous!
Students had great conversations surrounding how to find the constant multiplier if it never ended up being the same between bounces. We also had heated arguments about whether connecting the data points with a curve made sense in the situation. (The students came to the consensus that they did not think the graph would be continuous.)
Experiments with pennies and dice exploring exponential growth and decay. 2 days. 500 dice. More pennies than you care to think about. High engagement. Excellent modeling.
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I teach Math and Programming at Summit Middle School in Boulder, CO.