Thursday, August 6, 2015

8/6/15 - One time in math class… #MTBoSblaugust

For the last two days my students have been collecting an analyzing data to determine the safety of a roller coaster called Newton's Revenge (CPM Course 3 activity).

According to CPM, SWBAT use scatterplots as tools for organizing data and making predictions.  They will learn the importance of carefully scaling the axes of a graph.  Also, students will be introduced to the concept of dependent and independent measurements.

They were to achieve these goals by creating a scaled graph, drawing a trend line and making a prediction about the rides safety for very tall individuals like Yao Ming who is 228 cm tall given that Newton's revenge is known for its low ceilings (200 cm at the lowest point).

Here's how the last two days played out.
Day 1: I introduced the idea by asking students to name some of their favorite roller coaster rides and tell me why they were their favorites. I then asked them to act out what they do on a really exciting ride like the ones they mentioned.  As you can probably imagine, I had a variety of responses, ranging from blank stares to complete freak out. I told them about Newton's Revenge and asked teams to discuss what information would be needed to determine if the ride was safe for all riders. After a lengthy discussion, my kiddos set about collecting height and seated reach data for everyone in the class. After my period 1 class left, I realized that the data collection would be much quicker, and much more conducive to day 2's analysis, if I made a Google Form for students to compile their data. Sometimes I feel bad for period 1. They're always my guinea pigs.

Day 2: Today we analyzed the data. Class began with students entering their data into the Google form, I then pasted it (ala John Berray) into Desmos and shared the class graph.

Their are a variety of questions associated with this activity designed to get students thinking about relationships between variables. They worked with their groups to determine independence vs dependence as well as discussing human error and the importance of scale.We came back together to answer the big question, "Is this ride safe for all riders?"

Because the lowest point in the ride was 200 cm (aka the maximum allowable reach), students were curious how tall a person with a 200 cm reach might be. We graphed the line y=200 to show its intersection with our trend line. The class determined that riders could not be taller than 251 cm to safely ride the ride.

We then converted this measurement into feet and inches (approx. 8 feet 2.8 inches). "Now that we know the maximum height, is the ride safe?" Students suggested we Google search for tallest people to determine if there are people who are 8 feet 2.8 inches or taller. They found the tallest person was Robert Wadlow at 8 feet 11.1 inches tall. I asked the question again. One student stated that we still couldn't tell because Wadlow died in the 1940. We then refined our search to tallest person alive today. Sultan Kösen is the tallest person alive today at 8 feet 9 inches tall.  Students concluded that Newton's Revenge is safe for most, but not all, riders.

As a followup, I asked students to make a "Warning" sign in the "You must be this tall to ride this ride" style. The sign will warn riders of the maximum allowable height on Newton's Revenge.

Here are a couple of examples.

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