Students determine how high they can jump using a light probe and laser. After all jump heights have been obtained, students organize and display the data. They can then determine the minimum and maximum values, quartiles, mean, median, and mode of the data.
“Jump” is an example of an activity that would be appropriate for most middle school students. Rather than analyzing a list of meaningless numbers from the textbook, students can take ownership in the activity because they are obtaining real data points. Obtaining, organizing, displaying, and evaluating data are key elements of Standard 6: Data Analysis and Probability found in Indiana's Academic Standards for mathematics. (T.H.)
Newton's Law of Cooling
This activity would be appropriate as part of unit made up of direct and indirect proportions. The rate of cooling of a warm object is directly proportional to the temperature difference between the object and the surrounding environment. The activity also provides the added bonus of allowing the students to verify an equation. Frequently, students are given an equation and contrived data with instructions to solve for a variable. This activity allows students to realize that equations describing laws really do work. (T.H.)
Who Dropped the Bag?
Review: An appropriate activity for calculus, “Who Dropped the Bag?” provides a visual approach to understanding acceleration due to gravity and the resulting changes in velocity. The activity would be appropriate as an introduction to a unit discussing position, velocity, and acceleration or as post-unit lab. As an introductory activity, it would promote guided discovery learning and intuitive thinking. Students would reinforce their findings in their study of position, velocity, and acceleration. If the activity is used a post-unit lab, the students could reinforce their mathematical knowledge with this more visual approach. (This page also contains numerous activities involving motion and velocity in addition to notes on how to use the CBL, TI82/83.) (T.H.)
Activities: Pennies, Pressure, Temperature,
"Wet Heads" is a useful activity to use in a statistics unit. Indiana's Academic Standards requires students to be familiar with various methods of organizing data, including the stem-and-leaf diagrams, by the end of the sixth grade. Eye droppers and pennies are the primary supplies for the core activity; consequently, it would be appropriate for a variety of different grade levels and classroom situations. Furthermore, an emphasis can be placed on critical thinking skills by having students analyze the range of values and discuss possible reasons for the variations such as pipette size or the wear of the penny. (T.H.)
Review: The page provides a brief introduction to a variety of the subtopics related to the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio. Consequently, it is a good resource for any person needing a quick refresher course on the topics. The page is also student-friendly and includes some basic sample calculations and access to the answers. Exploration of the Golden Ratio provides opportunities for a variety of different hands-on lessons. For example, students could measure a variety of everyday rectangles such as index cards or sheets of paper to look for evidence of the Golden Ratio. The human body also has several ratios consistent with the Golden Ratio. Lessons could also incorporate correct use of significant figures, graphing of data, and slope.
A more detailed examination of the Fibonacci numbers and their relationships to nature is located at http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fibnat.html.
A list of the human body's Golden Ratios is located at http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~winkler/ratioprocedures.html. (T.H.)
What Causes the Seasons?
Activity: Problem Solving Island
Review: These are great “critical-thinking” exercises that will challenge students. My thoughts in including this website were to take a few of the problems and have the students solve them. Then have the students use the CBL to conduct structured experiments and develop their own open-ended word problems for the rest of their class to solve. This particular project would be great at helping students to develop their story problem solving skills. (S.M.)
The Derivation of Pi
Review: This project would be very useful to a geometry class. There is no limit to what the students could measure. This would help them begin to see how the value for pi was determined and that it was not just a number drawn from a hat. The website about Curious and Useful Math facts would be a great addition to this project. (S.M.)
Sonic Booms and Logarithms
Review: This would be a fun way to tie in real-life applications to mathematics. The teacher is provided with all the materials needed right on the website. Students could begin to understand logarithms immediately upon completion of this activity. (S.M.)
Curious and Useful Math
Review: Some of the topics on this site may help to “beef up” a project. These are more enrichment-based activities that would help students with their everyday classroom work. I especially enjoyed the Square Roots by Hand section. (S.M.)
Circles of Light: The Mathematics of Rainbows
Review: This activity could be used as a project for a pre-calculus or calculus classroom. Students can relate a natural phenomenon to mathematical calculations. The lab will cover light and how light travels, reflection, refraction, and an analysis of rainbows. Applications with prisms could also be used with this project. (S.M.)
Resource: CBL Made Easy!
So you're thinking about using CBL…
CBL Data Recovery Technologies, Inc.
Review: This site will be helpful in the case that we are in the middle of our project/activity and something goes wrong on the technical side of things. Instead of giving up, or starting over, it is possible that our data can be retrieved. (S.M.)
(Contains links to materials for using calculators and CBL)
19 Possible Math Projects with a Geometry Theme
Chance Database: Hands on
Activities for Probability and Statistics
Rock Around the Clock (probability activity)
Wet Heads (statistics activity)
Mathematical Archives (highly
PBS source for teachers (very well done and extensive)
MathWorld (Most highly recommended!)
Mathematics Journals: Implementing a Journal
Description: This website covers the more practical day-to-day concerns of starting and maintaining a successful journal writing program in a mathematics class.
Review: There is quite a bit of information that would be helpful in having our students write about their experiences with our projects. The site gives advice on the benefits of journal writing, when to write, what to write, how to encourage writing, responding and evaluating, and journal writing prompts. (S.M.)
A Guide to Writing in Mathematics Classes
Description: This website explains why you should have to write papers in a math class, how mathematical writing is different from other types of writing, and good phrases to use in math papers.
Review: More information to help us inspire our students to write and to explain to the students why mathematical writing is so important. (S.M.)
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
Indiana's Academic Standards for Teachers of Mathematics (Teacher's Edition)
Indiana's Academic Standards for Teachers of Science (Teacher's Edition)
National TSP Website: http://www.aacc.nche.edu
Our Home Page: http://www.saintjoe.edu/~tsp
Contact Us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maintained by T. Huff: email@example.com
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0087049.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.