Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Micro-Project: Cantilevers!

This semester one of my goals is to give students opportunities to work on mini-projects - mostly one-page explorations of math outside of the typical curriculum.  I wrote about the one we did in February here.  (I wanted to share some of these but I didn't ask students to leave their last names off of the projects ... learning that if I want to post their work, I have to specify first names only).

Today I gave students a "micro" project ... smaller, shorter than even a mini project!

We start Rational Functions on Friday.  We are going to start our unit with a math lab to collect and analyze data.  The lab on Friday uses spaghetti to make a cantilever.  We'll measure the deflection as we increase the number of pieces of spaghetti.

I suspected that students might not know what a cantilever is.  So I asked them to find an interesting example of a cantilever.  I created template slides in Google Presentation.  Each student puts their fascinating find on a slide with the link to the picture and a short blurb about the cantilever.

After a short test today, students had time to begin their work.  Already nearly half of my students have created their slide.  Here are examples (I haven't proofed these) ...

A couple of the students as leaving today "made fun" of how easy this homework is.  I'm OK with that.  Now when we work with our spaghetti on Friday we will have some visual ideas of cantilevers and the variables involved in making them work!

Our next project ... using our seven parent functions to create a work of art in Desmos!

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