Saturday, May 28, 2011

Writing programs to generate fractals is fun, but the rendering takes too long. Why not distribute the window range across the classroom (in my case, 4 students on "senior skip day") to have each student generate a little piece of the whole?

This process will only hint at the beauty of the set:

(Generated with Fractal Explorer)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Angry Birds teach calculus!

The angry yellow birds shoot off on [nearly] linear tangents to their parabolic flight paths. You know what that means - another Angry Birds math lesson! This time it's for calculus, or even precalculus, to motivate the concept of derivative. Start with this:

Here are my files - look for the PDFs to get started.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Angry Birds teach parabolas!

Update: Please check out the "Angry Birds" button in the top right!

I tried out the popular game Angry Birds the other day, and began thinking, "What excuse can I have to play this more?"

Using it in a lesson, perhaps? An Angry Birds Math Lesson!

To motivate the study of quadratic functions (usually an Algebra I topic), let's start with this video:

Next, students should realize we need some measurements:

Solve a system using substitution and voila - we know where the bird will land.  This last part will take some guidance, so here's a handout.

You may want to import the basic image into Geogebra (click the little arrow on the Slider Tool to show a drop-down menu) and have your students play with it first.

Don't watch the results until you've tried it out!

In this package you'll find:

• Both HD videos

• Handout

• Images (with and without parabola)

• Worked solution

Let me know if you students like having Angry Birds teach math!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cheap polyhedra!

I found a vinyl-looking tube out of the gutter and brought it to school.  Using a pushpin and some bamboo skewers, a student put together some cool models for the classroom.  Thu pushpin was uncomfortable under prolonged use, so I made a hold-puncher with a nail and piece of wood. I came across a bag of 1000 thin plastic straws at Goodwill, and another student connected them with pipe cleaners to make some more sweet polyhedra.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Free pi posters!

Instead of going to bed on time last night I made this printable pi poster for the classroom!  This is just the first few digits, so you probably won't find Your Life in Pi, but it has other uses.

Click for the 4-page pdf.

Here's a single-page version of the above.

Here's a 2-page long-format: