Friday, 24 February 2012

Three Acts - The Need for Speed!

I feel the need, the need for speed!

I used this activity with my GCSE group as a bit of revision on the topics of speed, converting units of measure, and re-arranging formula.
3 Acts - The Fastest Man on the Planet! 

Act 1 - The Hook!

I projected this picture -and asked if they had any questions?
The following were the 6 questions they came up with - in no particular order.

1. How long is the race?
2. What time did he take?
3. What is 34.87km/h in m/s?
4. Does he break the world record?
5. What does MR mean?
6. What is the black smudge.

I asked them what they needed to answer questions 1 - 4.  I answered question 5 as "Meeting Record" I hope I was correct - and asked the students to go away and clarify whether I was correct.. I explained what the black smudge was.
There was open discussion at this point about what distance the race was - after looking at the WR (world record) they decided it was not the 100m or 200m?  They eventually decided it must be 300m - although some were convinced this distance did not exist. This led nicely to Act 2 ->

Act 2
Give them this

Now they decided to work out how long it took Bolt to complete the 300m race and to check whether he broke the world record record?
At this point we discussed what speed was - not just the formula. I wanted them to be able to explain what being fast was ? This was really difficult for some of them as they did not like discussing it - they were happy enough to know the formula. This was a major learning point for me - when I cover the topic speed for the first time with students I must not just give them the formula - we will debate and come up with the formula from discussion and examples - practical examples.
After the discussion they worked in pairs to find the time taken by Bolt to complete the 300m race. The problem of converting the km/h to m/s was challenging and again we discussed what 34.87km/h actually meant. They then completed their calculations to work out the time taken.

*******At this point I wish I had given the students mini-whiteboards so I could see their answers - and their working. ********
Act 3
The reveal


Reflections


This activity was so much more satisfying than your typical text book which gives them all the information and they just need to substitute the values it into an equation.
The satisfaction was
  1. The pupils were more engaged in the topic than they would be if the answer is just told to them or found at the back of the book
  2. There was a lot of discussion - with non-specialist maths students able to input.
  3. They were problem solving without being pushed or cajoaled by me.
  4. They enjoyed the video - and a few whooped with delight as they got the time exactly right.
Did they learn anything? I believe they had a greater grasp of the speed equation and what it meant from their discussions. It was great to see them discussing the problem and reasoning for why the race could not be 200m long and not 400m.

Improvements : - use mini-whiteboards, ask the students to go away and come up with their own.

Will I use it again - definitely.
Try it, improve it, tell me what you think.

The goods

Act 1 - Hook Picture
Act 2 - Distance Shot
Act 3 - Video


New UPGRADE - The Dan Meyer "Bolt" Version


Thanks Dan!


LINK - http://threeacts.mrmeyer.com/download/bolt.zip


For all Dan Meyers 3 acts see https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjIqyKM9d7ZYdEhtR3BJMmdBWnM2YWxWYVM1UWowTEE#gid=0



14 comments:

  1. This is a truly inspiring Mathematical activity to use in teaching. It is real life and appealing to students. I'll definitely be using this and reporting back to you on how the lesson went. Fantastic stuff, Thank You.

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  2. I love it Damian! I really like the delving into m/s and the conversion necessary. I will probably use this in the next weeks when I get into rates.

    I would like to know how students would do with this as an intro to the speed formula rather than a review of it. How intuitive was it for students to do the conversions?

    I think in these posts we should start including some examples of student work. I'd like to see what steps students take in conversion. 1km/1h --> 1000m/3600s is what I would start with, where do students start.

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  3. Also can we get a high res picture?

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  4. MR is Meet Record, as in the record time for that track meet historically.

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  5. Hi,

    I'm an NQT teaching secondary maths and this looks fantastic, especially getting students to form their own formulae rather than just throwing a DST triangle at them. I work in a similar way. I show a youtube clip of Usain Bolt breaking the world record and simply ask students what they think todays lesson will be about.

    I can them give differentiated lesson outcomes: all students will be able to see the link between speed, distance and time (involving a discussion about the units we measure speed in), some students can calculate his speed in km/h given 100m in 9.8 seconds. The selected few can then tell me that if we ran the race outside of the school, would he get flashed by a speed camera (think of the maths involved here!)

    We also try to have a classroom demo to see if any of the students are as fast as usain over 5 metres and why this might not be a fair trial!!

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  6. Hi, brilliant ideas - I love the speed camera idea! I would love to see some of your work - post or send me a link. Are you on Twitter? If not get yourself on it - it is the professional development I have had!
    Good luck with completing your NQT year - sounds like your doing some great stuff! Enjoy Damian

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  7. Hi Damian,

    Well, one tries ones best!

    You can find me on twitter @ceejaypee

    my resources on TES are here

    http://www.tes.co.uk/MyResources.aspx?navcode=472

    Enjoy

    Craig

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    Replies
    1. Cheers - followed you (pending). Checking out your resources via TES.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this Damian, great stuff!

    Cheers,
    Darren

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  9. Thanks Darren glad you liked it. Regards Damian

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  10. Inspiring work. It has always been so difficult to translate this idea of speed, which they have all experienced of, onto something a bit more abstract in the classroom. How did you follow it up?

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  11. I hate the DST triangle with a passion. It leads to such crazy calculations like 2 miles in 20 minutes is 2 ÷ 1/3 instead of 2×3. I use a double numberline to help students see that mph is simply miles in one hour,then they can visualise why I multiply by 3 to scale 20 minutes up to 1 hour.

    So much more intuitive and less procedural.

    Works a treat for more unusual compound units like drips per minute, population density etc when a formula triangle is less well known.

    I blame Science teachers!!

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  12. I hate the DST triangle with a passion. It leads to such crazy calculations like 2 miles in 20 minutes is 2 ÷ 1/3 instead of 2×3. I use a double numberline to help students see that mph is simply miles in one hour,then they can visualise why I multiply by 3 to scale 20 minutes up to 1 hour.

    So much more intuitive and less procedural.

    Works a treat for more unusual compound units like drips per minute, population density etc when a formula triangle is less well known.

    I blame Science teachers!!

    Mike

    ReplyDelete