Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/game?

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pernero
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Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/game?

Postby pernero » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

I'm looking for a "fun" game that involves quadratic equations (even in the slightest!) for my mathematics curriculum course.
It can be something simple for kids in grade 8, or a bit more complex for grade 12. I don't want it to include graphing calculators and it should last around 30 minutes (no more). I'm just teaching it out to 3 other students as a mini-project.

Did anyone have any fun experiences in high school/junior high with quadratic equations?

Sowieso
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby Sowieso » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:28 am UTC

Something one of my high school algebra teacher's did was a 'Quad Fo Pro' contest. He had us all memorize the quadratic formula, and if we could recite the complete formula in under 4 seconds were official 'Quad Fo Pro's'. And he made a whole big deal out of 'world records' and stuff. My personal time was 2.35 seconds, the fastest i think was like 1.4. It's not a huge project thing, but it was fun on the official 'quad fo pro qualifying day'.

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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby ericgrau » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:33 am UTC

If they don't already know the equation I agree that the game should revolve around memorizing it. You only have 30 minutes after all.

If they do know the equation then this has got to be the equation I use more than everything else for everything. Find anything in the world that can be represented with a polynomial equation and have them solve some problem(s). Hmm, basically look up a bunch of engineering equations for various things.

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Kirby
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby Kirby » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:38 am UTC

If they already know the equation, then you could derive it for them by completing the square.

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pernero
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby pernero » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:13 am UTC

I really like the song idea, but deriving the formula just isnt...fun enough. Unless I could turn it into a game...

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BlackSails
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby BlackSails » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:50 am UTC

Have the class lay siege to a castle and calculate the trajectory that their catapults need to fire on?

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Kirby
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby Kirby » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:54 am UTC

pernero wrote:I really like the song idea, but deriving the formula just isnt...fun enough. Unless I could turn it into a game...


Probably not very helpful, but that reminded me of something my English teacher was talking about the other day: how math is taught in Japan (I have no idea if this is actually true, but I do like the method). The instructor gives the students a problem they have never seen before, and have no idea how to solve. The students try to figure out the problem. The instructor waits, say, fifteen minutes. By now, some students may have figured out the problem, and others may just be incredibly frustrated with it. But either way, everyone is actively engaged. Only at this point does the instructor show how to work the problem. This teaches students how to think, not how to merely apply a solution to a similar problem.

That's something to consider anyways. The only thing I can think of to make a game out of deriving the formula would be to set up the derivation, then prompt the students for the next step to deriving the formula, and reward them with pats on the back... or similar.

Good luck!

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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby tckthomas » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:30 am UTC

Oh My Gosh. totally.

Why did you say "revolve around memorising the quadratic formula"?

don't touch the quadratic formula until later. students need to know the basics.

if the students already know the basics, i have nothing to say.

if the students don't know the basics, go for that! totally have a game about basics. maybe have some theory about how quadratics are special and maybe even draw a fancy graph.

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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby Yakk » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:57 pm UTC

Build a small catapult with a well calibrated launch velocity system.

Have them aim at a target. They get one shot.

Give them the quadratic formula.

Problem: many students will simply give up rather than solve the problem?
Advantage: you get to shoot a catapult.
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:33 pm UTC

The romans used a cubic to model their siege engine projectiles. The contribution of drag is significant.
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Yesila
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby Yesila » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

One would think that if they already knew the equation they would have already done the derivation.

Kirby wrote:If they already know the equation, then you could derive it for them by completing the square.

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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby SWGlassPit » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

My experience in junior high math tells me otherwise. There is a strong force in the US for rote memorization. By the time they reach college, a significant number of students are ruined on math, imo.
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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby voidPtr » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:27 pm UTC

If I had enough time to prepare one, I'd do a presentation concentrating on the historical and practical significance of quadratic equations, only lightly touching the math. 30 minutes is not enough time to teach quadratic equations in any kind of meaningful way, but it could be enough time to get someone curious about them.

Here's the type of presentation that I mean: Mathematics of War. Obviously, different topic, different audience, but you don't have to be strong in stats to enjoy this presentation.

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Re: Ideas for a "Quadratic Equation" class demonstration/gam

Postby squareroot » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:25 pm UTC

Yesila wrote:One would think that if they already knew the equation they would have already done the derivation.


I wasn't taught the derivation of the quadratic formula for 6 months after we learned the formula...

...and even then it was just a little side note on of the homeworks, so I think 80% of the class didn't pick it up.

I, too, hate the way maths are taught here (US).
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