Students in Brian Luse’s high school Geometry classes use equipment purchased through an Education Foundation grant to determine the pole’s height by measuring the pole’s shadow to get one leg of the right triangle formed by the flagpole and the earth. The height can then be calculated using trigonometric functions.
The grant purchased equipment such as wheels, stopwatches, 100’ tape measures, a bridge building set and scales.
Math in Motion uses project-based learning to enhance the Geometry curriculum through hands-on activities such as measuring the flag pole. Other activities include:
- Sink or Float – Students predict the buoyancy of several different objects and then verify their predictions by using calculations of volume and density.
- Need for Speed – Students collect distance and time data using both an automobile and a human jogger. Through this activity they learn to compute speed, and how to make conversions between feet per second and miles per hour.
- Get in Gear for Geometry – Students establish relationships between diameter, circumference and linear distance. They also use the gear rations of a bicycle to see how that linear distance is affected with the use of gears.
- Bridge Building – Students use a variety of 3D solids to measure and calculate volume. They verify their calculated volumes by filling each of the solids with water.
These hands-on, real-world examples help students develop higher-order thinking skills such as creativity and critical thinking which are valued by businesses. Getting the students moving during class also helps keep their interest and focus.