Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Calculus on the Campsite

Math teachers see applications all over the place.
So I was talking to the guys a little about work and what I was going to be doing the rest of the week. I told them how I would be going to Dallas for a Teachers Teaching with Technology Leadership Conference.

Anyway I was looking at the tent of one of my brother-in-laws, when I saw a beautiful example of a calculus question that I had used the TI-Nspire to help students get a visual idea of what the question was asking. So I excitedly asked my camping buddies if they would let me take some pictures before they completely took down their tent. To promote education, they were all for it. They even ended up waiting until I got back from a morning hike with my oldest son.

What is the volume of this structure?
This is the shape that reminded me of a question I typed up that is similar to questions calculus students would see on their AP exam.
Question: Let the base of a solid be the first quadrant region enclosed by the x-axis and one arch of the graph y=sin(x). If all cross sections perpendicular to the x-axis are squares, then the volume of the solid is approximately
(A) 0.52 (B) 0.79 (C) 1.05 (D) 1.57 (E) 2.00

It took me less time to make the following Graph & Geometry page on the TI-Nspire CAS then it did to set up my tent.

You may enjoy another animation I put together around the Forth of July.

Update: I recently posted an example of an animation from a student graphing project on this blog. Another link with great video clips that will be of interest to math teachers is TI math.com.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Awesome! I have been eagerly awaiting the math problem from our tent work.

Thanks for posting some great pics. Your little guy really was a hiking master! We had such a great time.

Keep up the great posts - I read them far more often than I comment.