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.

31 comments:

  1. I wish I knew Calculus! I'm so curious and wonder if it was legit. I forwarded a link of your post to some high school teachers. Maybe their students can do the math for me?!

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  3. Have you ever heard of the new COmmon Core Mathematical Practices that are going to be used in the United States in Grades K-12? I am asking because you could have written them! Google them and sit back and read them. Be prepared to jump up and down and yell...OH MY GOD... somebody gets it.
    Now all we need is for people to start believing in them like you do.
    Deborah
    http://splitmultigradeclassroom.blogspot.com

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  4. Now you have me thinking. Please comment on my question, "Now put on your thinking cap and brainstorm with me a few ways to gain familiarity with factors and multiples. Remember that the Common Core Mathematical Standards states that our students should have mathematical understanding. What can teachers do to lead our students down the road of "Mathematical Understanding" and not drag them by their hands by TELLING them a bunch of rules?" I am interested to hear your thoughts.
    Deborah
    http://splitmultigradeclassroom.blogspot.com

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  5. Please comment on my blog so my readers can also hear your thoughts.
    Deborah

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  6. Thanks for the article. I liked it. IN my view, to learn calculus, it needs a lot of practice and solving varieties of questions.

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  8. I would be interested in seeing the math that goes into proving/disproving this! Do you happen to have anything you can upload?

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  9. Hi,

    This is an old post, but I just came across it. I tried to do this activity on my own (just to get an idea of what the kids may possibly run into) and I am wondering what role would the drag play in this. Just integrating gravitational pull ignores the drag, which is substantial in this case. Is it possible that taking drag into account may change the answer? I can't figure it out. Thanks!

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