The purpose of this page is not to exhibit projects in their full completion. I will be doing larger summaries of projects through blog posts and the label "Projects and Ideas." This page is only intended to be a static list of projects I have done and ideas that I have. If you want to elaborate on any of them, please contact me!
Level 7, Trigonometry
- Ruben's Tube - We used fire to simulate sine and cosine waves by building a Ruben's Tube and studying the underlying trigonometry in music.
- Satellite Circles - Circle Geometry and Trigonometry
Geometry and Trigonometry (extended to law of sines/cosines) to figure out how many satellites we
needed in Geosynchronous Orbit in order to cover the entire earth. Students presented their work to the class.
Level 6, Algebra 2, Statistics
- Combat Fishin'! - Statistics, Quadratics, Problem Solving, Technology
We used Alaska Department of Fish and Game data to develop mathematical models of the salmon runs and presented our findings to Fish and Game Biologists.
- Airline Fares - Linear Functions and Relationships, Systems of Equations
We use airline costs vs. distance of flight to predict prices and build linear models. We then look up actual prices to check our results and publish a report.
- pHat Math! - Logarithmic Functions, Problem Solving, Science
Students test the pH of several solutions and build the general mathematical model for pH while learning the properties of logarithms.
- Gas Nation - Exponential Functions, Problem Solving
Use nationwide gas prices from 1990-2011 to build an exponential model and predict future prices. We also analyzed possible statistical errors in these calculations.
- Buffon's Needle - Statistics, Problem Solving
We approximated Pi using toothpicks and a playing board we invented and presented the results to lower level courses.
Level 5, Geometry, Measurement, Numeration
- Knik Arm Bridge - Bridge Building, Geometry
We used the Knik Arm Bridge in Anchorage, Alaska, which is not yet
built, as our basis for a bridge building project (field trip to KABATA
included). We built and tested our bridges in a competition to see whose bridge held the most weight compared to the bridge's weight.
- Satellite Circles - Circle Geometry
We used Geometry and some Trigonometry to figure out how many satellites we needed in Geosynchronous Orbit in order to cover the entire earth and presented the information to the class.
- Tourism Maps, Inc. - Coordinates, Distance and Midpoint formulas, Technology
Students used a map of their hometown, build a grid to locate tourist attractions, and build an excel spreadsheet to calculate distances and midpoints between attractions. The information is presented to a panel of people (parents, community members) posing as the chamber of commerce.
- Space Case - Scientific Notation Operations, Volume & Surface Area of Spheres, Mass, Solar System, Technology
Students create a fictitious trip through the solar system and narrate the trip with information for the tourists including distances, mass, volume, surface area, and planet facts. They then record their informative speeches to the computer.
- The Ultimate School - Area, Perimeter, Surface Area, Scale Drawings/Models, Constructions Apps
School Districts are always looking to build new schools or update old buildings. Under that guise, the Superintendent comes in and asks us to help with the design and cost work of the construction. We create scale drawings (and use existing blueprints for a remodel) to build our ultimate school and calculate the costs for the work. We then present our results to district administration.
- Hole In One! - Angles and Angle Pairs, Transformations, Scale Drawings, 3D Shapes
In groups of 2-3, we embark on creating our own miniature golf course holes. The only caveat is that the hole must allow for a hole in one in 2-4 rebounds. Along the way, we study angles and angle pairs, transformations and their properties (reflections especially pertaining to a hole in one), scale drawings, and 3D shapes. Students are asked to turn in a scale drawing of their hole showing the path of the hole in one, and a separate drawing with front, side, and top views of any 3D structures on the hole.
- How Tall is That? - Right Triangle Trigonometry
In groups of 2-4, students are taught how to measure tall structures and long distances without a tape measure, but a clinometer. Their final product is to measure two tall structures and two distances of consequence (like a parking lot size), draw a diagram, and in the end, estimate the heights and distances. If possible, comparisons are made to the actual known height/distance of the object to compare/contrast accuracy.
- The Art of Escher - Transformation, Tessellations, Symmetry
Students study the art of MC Escher and learn about transformations, tessellations, and symmetry. The culmination of the project is an art piece by each group. We have done this on simple paper all the way to ceiling tiles. MC Escher's life is also investigated.
- Pythagoras - Phythagorean Theorem, Pythagorean Triples, Special Right Triangles, History, Proof
We investigate the life of Pythagoras and his famous theorem! Students are tasked with proving his theorem correct and showing him as a man worthy of respect!
Level 4 - Algebra 1, Numeration
- Around the World - D=RT, Distance, Rate, Time, Volume, Surface Area, Perimeter, Weight
Students plan their ultimate vacations in groups of four, and are asked to calculate many items related to their trips, including distances, rates of travel, time zone changes, and surface area, volume, and perimeter of their baggage. They present their trips to the class.
- Build a Business - Numeration, Estimation, Business Plans and Finances, Technology
Each group of students invents a business, logo, and merchandise line, then builds a business plan to sell their product. They must find a location, calculate rent, utilities, merchandise costs, and estimate sales. The financial items must be put on an excel spreadsheet and use formulas for ease of calculations. They present their business to the class.
- KaBoom! - Numeration, Estimation, Statistics, Tables, Equations, Graphs, Technology
A hot button issue over the past couple of years has been materials prices, and ammunition is no exception. We gathered information in groups of 2-3 about ammunition prices, and created tables, equations, and graphs to represent the data. We also the predicted prices for the next 10 years and analyzed what that might do to our military and consumers.
- Pick Your Poison - Tables, Equations, Graphs, Lines of Best Fit, Correlation, Statistics
Students in groups of 2 pick two topics that are related that are related (i.e. birth/death rates), calculate a line of best fit, if appropriate, and predict the future for that data. Logical conclusions are then made about the future of these topics and their impacts on society. Slope and y-intercepts and their meanings are discussed in depth. Students present their findings to their peers in class.
- The Game of Life - Numeration, Problem Solving, Finances, Technology
In sets of two, students draw at random a life that they will live,
including salary, debts, possessions, place of employment, location of
residence, etc. Armed with this information, they build a budget by
calculating taxes and estimating remaining items like housing,
groceries, etc. If they are in debt, a reduction plan is required.
Then, they apply for a home loan with the teacher serving as banker, and
try to purchase a house actually on the market. Lastly, they apply for
a credit card on an actual credit card form. All is turned into the
banker for review and approval.
Level 3 - PreAlgebra, Numeration
- Egg Drop - Problem Solving
Students create an egg protector while discussing their designs and shapes with other groups. After the schoolwide drop is done, comparisons are done with egg survival, weight, volume, and surface area of the device. An equation is developed for the relationships discovered.
- Destruction and Construction - Hardware, Install Operating System
To form the basis of our knowledge, we need a basic understanding of how a computer works. In Denver, we visited the Jared Polis Foundation, which has a wing that takes old computers, refurbishes them, installs a new operating system, and gives them away. On a field trip to their warehouse, the students are shown how to do this, and each group of two is given a computer to do the following: tear down, clean, put together, replace broken parts, update necessary items, and install a new OS (we used Ubuntu). In the process they learned the terms of the computer hardware, like RAM, CPU, etc, and learned their functions.
- Computer Networking and Security - Networks, IP Addresses, Firewalls, Security
First, each group has an opportunity to build a firewall, which serves to protect a network. We use donated 5+ year old computers for this. With our computers from Destruction and Construction, we build a classwide wired network and connect to one firewall that serves as our router (IP Cop OS). We also discuss viruses, worms, and all forms of internet dangers, including the security issues with wired and wireless networks.
- Computer R-Evolution - History of Computers
The Computer History Museum has sent our class a letter and asked us to complete an exhibit called "A Timeline of Computers." Each group chooses a decade from 1930-2010 to detail, and works up a poster and audio recording, including such information as important advancements, people, and companies. They submit their work through a presentation to the Board of Directors of the Museum (parents, community members, etc), and turn in their materials for evaluation. The last step, if wanted, is to actually create the museum in the school.
- Pimp Your Computer - Modern Computer Hardware, Modding, Form Factors
The title aside, students individually explore the world of ultra-fast, ultramodern computers and what some people do to them to dress them up. The students select components from the internet to build their ultimate system, maintain a cost spreadsheet, and must verify that the parts will actually work together, which is a big problem with all of the possible form factors out there. Next, they draw/create a picture of their "modded" machine. Lastly, they present their machine to the class.
- The Game of Life - Numeration (algebra level), Problem Solving, Finances, Technology
In sets of two, students draw at random a life that they will live, including salary,
debts, possessions, place of employment, location of residence, etc.
Armed with this information, they build a budget by calculating taxes
and estimating remaining items like housing, groceries, etc. If they
are in debt, a reduction plan is required. Then, they apply for a home
loan with the teacher serving as banker, and try to purchase a house
actually on the market. Lastly, they apply for a credit card on an actual credit card form. All is turned into the banker for review and approval.