Physics in the Math Curriculum

Friday, July 20

This afternoon we spent the majority of our time rehearsing presentations.

Steve showed how lever problems could be used in math instruction. The most important concept or talent Steve wanted to develop among his students using this application was their sense of proportion. Using levers allows the students to alter various parameters and observe how they affect the overall relationships among the parameters in the system. In addition, several suggestions were made for enrichment activities.

The other presentation that was rehearsed was Bungee Barbie. In this activity the student has the task of determining the height from which Barbie should be dropped. By setting the potential energy of Barbie equal to the work done by stretching the bungee cord (rubber bands), the appropriate height may be ascertained. In order to compute the work on the bungee cord, data must be taken, graphs analyzed, and a relationship between force and distance has to be obtained. After completing the calculation Barbie is dropped from the determined height. What happened, remains a secret until the presentation.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.