Friday, December 16, 2011

Calculus and Kobe Bryant

I used this video in my calculus class to show how math can either support or disprove a movie.

I showed this movie to my students and asked if this looked possible.  One jumped up and said "No way!" while others thought it could happen.  What was interesting was when I asked "Do you have proof?", as the class went silent. 

The math in this movie is incredible. 

Where I thought the students would go was completely the opposite of what happened.  My students timed how long Kobe was in the air, we measured his height in the movie and compared it to his real height to create a scale.  We used integration using gravitational pull to be -9.81m/s^2, to create a velocity and distance function.  The calculus was amazing. 

Whether we proved or disproved the reality is a secret I keep with me as I challenge you to give this to your students and see what they do.  Just watch the movie then ask "Any questions?"  I bet you will get lots.  The secret is then to let them "play" with the math and the movie.

Learning is road that they must travel down themselves and we should only be guiding them not pulling them along by the hand.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Awesome Education Talk in Red Deer

Yong Zhao is coming to Red Deer Wednesday February 8.
Tickets are $10 and are donated to the Red Deer Women's Shelter.

Amazing speaker for parents, future and current educators and as well as anyone interested in Education.

More information, and how to buy a ticket can be found here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Students create the problem to solve

Math 31 Assessment
Option 1: The head of NASA has approached you asking for your assistance plotting a course for the International Space Station.  The tracking device can be found at .  NASA needs an equation of the path, as well as the 1st and 2nd derivative.  The director is also asking for all relevant information about the path to be explained.  Create a potential problem the satellite might encounter and provide the solution to the problem.
Option 2: Ethan Hunt, an IMF point man, is securing top secret files at the bottom a cylindrical tube.  He is being lowered by rope into the room at a constant speed.  Unfortunately, while being lowered, another man walks, at a constant rate, towards the room.  Ethan is then raised back up out of the view of the approaching man.  While suspended in air, sweat is building at a constant rate until it reaches a critical value and drops onto the floor.  Using the video (a clip can be found here use calculus to help out Ethan and determine various velocities, critical values, and timing to assist him in securing the evidence.
Option 3: Taking what you’ve learned this semester you must create a problem to solve. It must be based on a real world example (or movie world) and must have at least one solution. Be sure to submit your proposed solution in a sealed envelope. Five bonus points will be awarded if you are able to stump your teacher.

No matter which option you choose you must create the question and problem in the given scenario

Calculus Student
Calculus Student Teacher
Calculus Teacher
Calculus Master
Real Life Application:
Is the problem worthwhile solving?
What are the implications of the result of the problem?
Who would benefit with the knowledge of the answer to your problem?
Only students of this course would see the relevance of this problem.

The purpose is built on strictly recalling facts.

The solution is only needed to complete this assignment.
Problem is created from a plausible issue with major changes.

Purpose is unclear and does not go beyond the needs of the course.

Students in this course would only understand the consequences of the solution to the problem.
The problem is created from a plausible issue or problem with minor changes.

The purpose is clear and slightly exceeds the needs of this course.

Few, outside this course, would benefit from the solution to the problem.
The problem is created from a real life issue or problem.

The purpose is meaningful beyond the needs of the course.

The solution to this problem adds to the experience of the students’ real world knowledge.
Explanation of math.
Are you using basic math knowledge?
Are you demonstrating most of the knowledge you learned in this course?
Focuses strictly on basic recall and basic knowledge of the mathematical skills.
Requires few sections to apply higher level thinking to solve the problem.
Math is still largely focused on recall of knowledge.
All levels of understanding, from basic to higher level thinking are implemented throughout the problem.
Focuses on higher level comprehension, the use of the combination of multiple skills is evident throughout the entire solution.
Communication of your answer:
Does your work follow sequentially throughout your solution?
Are there gaps in your communication?
Minimal response is given with multiple gaps in the explanation process.
The use of similar explanation techniques is used throughout the solution. 

Communication is limited with various gaps in the problem solving. 
Most of the project is easily understood, and organization is mostly logical.
The use of different means of demonstration is illustrated throughout the solution. 

The mathematics is clearly communicated as well as the meaning of the solution(s)