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IMGALTTAG Volume V: The Math Connection


Functions in Motion:
By Dorothy A. Coates
Allderdice High School

This unit will explore various functions in the field of motion. Constant Motion and Projectile Motion are the two kinds of motions that will be investigated. This unit has application problems, which connect to real world situations. Multiple representations, graphical and symbolical of problem situations are provided. Problems- solving activities are designed so students can experiment with different methods and learning tools.


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Introducing Calculus in Physics Class
By Edward Henke
Langley High School

In thirty years of teaching high school physics, it has been my experience that most students do not strive to understand the topic they are studying. They would much rather memorize facts and equations so that they can solve physics homework problems. Once they study the material for an exam, it is many times forgotten. This is in part due to the teaching style to which many students have become accustomed. Due to the limitations of space and budget placed on the urban teacher, lecture is the logical teaching method to use. However, from my experience, students have many different styles of learning. Some students learn faster with a hands on approach, which can take the form of individual lab experiments or group projects.

This paper describes an attempt to work around these difficulties by fully discussing new concepts in class and relating the concepts to daily life. Redesigning lab experiments that can be performed inexpensively with existing physics lab supplies, and teaching the mathematics necessary to the understanding of physics concepts. This unit deals with accelerated motion and how it can be used to introduce the integral and differential in a main stream physics class for high school juniors.


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A Unit in Geometry That Really is an Earth Measure
By Paul J. Renne
Oliver High School

This unit is to be used during the last nine weeks of a high school geometry course. It involves practical geometry in that it uses computations of lengths, angles, areas, and volumes. Although the course and unit involve written logical arguments, they contain no formal proofs. The general strategy of the unit is that the students will compute the theoretical size of real objects and then attempt to physically measure these sizes to verify the calculations.

Specifically, the students will begin with small objects that can be held, the dimensions of which can be measured with a ruler. Later, the students will find the size of larger ones, such as buildings, trees, and mountains. The unit will end with the calculation of the size of the Earth using a modified version of the method of Eratosthenes (300 B.C.).

Stories about ancient Greek and Egyptian mathematicians play an important role in the unit. The students will be told stories about these ancient mathematicians and are to role-play by choosing mock Egyptian or Greek names for themselves, while they work on the unit.


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Forensic Science in the Middle School Math Classroom
By Patricia Roberto
Rogers Middle School

This unit plan on forensic science was written for a middle school math classroom. However, it could easily be adapted for a science class or, idealistically, an integrated math/science program. Students will be introduced to forensic science, which is a branch of science that focuses on criminal investigation to provide physical evidence to solve criminal cases. Students will learn a brief history of the subject, discuss the many occupations related to this study, practice the Bertillon system of identification of criminals, experience the exactness of fingerprinting, and develop an understanding of the emerging importance of DNA testing. Finally, the students will use algebraic equations to determine the height of a person using only the length of certain bones. The unit could easily fit into a communications or literature class with the use of an abridged version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes as a prequel to the unit and the evaluation sheet at the end of the unit.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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