Thursday, 1 December 2011

Plotting Quadratics Basketball Style

I am a big Dan Meyer fan, and I am always trying to teach in a more engaging fashion. I generally have to look to adapt his resources to suit the level of my students - although I am trying to push my students to their full potential. One of my favourite resources Dan has published was his "Will it hit the hoop?" - and this week I have finally managed to use it!

I used it with a group 13/14 year olds and it was fantastic. My learning intentions were as follows
1. To be able to visualise quadratic equations.
2. To be able to plot a quadratic equation.
3. To begin to recognise the impact of changing co-efficients and constants of a quadratic equation.

The students were engaged, keen to learn, eager for the result and more importantly left the lesson confident they could plot a very complicated quadratic equation.

Format of the lesson
1. Play Basketball introduction outlining learning intentions.

2. Discuss quadratic graphs and their features - visual demonstration via an interactive quadratic graph generator.
3. Give out worksheet and laminated take 1 sheet with a whiteboard pen.

Pupils use calculators to work out points and plot them on their basketball sheet. Pupils come up to the IWB and drag the basketball into the correct position. Lots of discussion at this point and pupils decide whether Dan scores a basket. I show them the video and pupils get off with completing the exercise.

4. The activity takes about 40 minutes, we then run through the answers via the videos. I only actually plotted the last 2 co-ordinates near the basket.

Amazing lesson - I loved it - they loved and most importantly they came up saying they could plot quadratic equations. Any comments welcome.

Here are the resources - a big thanks to Dan Meyer who without his videos it would not have been possible to make this lesson. Please accept my apologies for my poor grammar / punctuation etc.


Possible lesson  improvements -

  • More discussion about the equations and the effects of altering the equation.
  • Digital improvements - equation and table on the same sheet as the graph.

I intend to try to get an older group of students to use Geogebra to model the basketball path and find the equations for themselves.

The goods!

Three Acts - F1

This is my first attempt at a "Three Acts" activity - an idea proposed by Dan Meyer. This activity is for a much younger audience, I used this activity with class of 11/12 year old students.
For more information on this concept see "The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story - Dan Meyer" - you will also see much better examples.

Act 1 – Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying
The hook!!

Hopefully your students will want to know who wins.
Ask the students to predict who will win - get them to write it on a scrap of paper fold it up and put it away until the end of the lesson! (It is a complete guess to them - this is to get them to have some ownership / engagement in the task).

Act 2 – What we need

Ask the student what they need.... (Do not just give them it - like our typical text book does). 
The students need the drivers and their times so after a very quick discussion my students asked for this. 
I gave them the top ten drivers and their times given on separate cut out sheets ideally cut out and laminated – purely for aesthetic purposes. (Example below)

They then have to order the top ten drivers.

Act 3 – The reveal

I then let the pupils enjoy the last 5 / 10 minutes of the qualifying session or a screen shot (let them finally watch some video in maths). They will then see if they were right!


What is the difference in times between Vettel (first place) and the other drivers?

Average speed?

The goods! - the files are very big - sorry. Any advice on how to make them smaller?

Let me know what you think.