Algebra for All year 2 final project posting
Sean Karsten (Ojibwe Charter School) and Ron Petts (Brimley Middle School)
Beyond all the tips I give in the document, make sure you have some cars that aren't the cheapest you can find. Of the 12 I got, 3 were pretty worthless and 2 ended up in pieces by the end of two classes. I'd love to find some old Hot Wheels cars for this next time.
I also took some video and pictures during the lesson, and will try and add some in a reply to this post.
In an 8th grade class, this activity took about 45 minutes and we did not get to the competition mentioned at the bottom of the lesson.
We also had the students assume the pattern was linear. Some interesting equations came out as students tried and pull the cars back 10, 15, 20... inches and noticed the car didn't travel any farther. They failed to realize how the car worked and ended up with an equation with a negative slope. Once I asked them what that meant, they were quite surprised. I think that's the beauty of having students create their own data. It doesn't always work out as nicely as the book numbers.
All in all, this is a lesson I'd love to do again, I just need higher quality cars. If you know of a place I can find some (the kind you have to pull back and then go on their own) put it in a reply.