Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm pooped.  Is it June 3 yet?

We had a fun day in Precalc today (ignoring some minor technical difficulties).  I used the Mathbits worksheet for the Law of Sines and Cosines that has the students find sides and angles from the podracing scene in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace.  We watched the scene from the movie - unfortunately, the boy who brought the DVD in for me was out taking an AP Test.  The kids were happy to have a little break from the norm and I let one of the classes watch one of the battle scenes at the end.  Made for a fun day!  The funniest thing was that one of the girls told me that it was Star Wars Day.   She said, "May the 4th be with you." Get it? :)

The plan for the next few days is to do a few different things with the LoS and LoC - tomorrow I have a worksheet (a "plain-Janer", as Ann Gregson would call it!) and then we'll spend a couple of days on some of my favorite problems in which they actually have to apply the formulas to some triangles in a real-life type situation.

After we finish up with those, I'm kind of at a loss at what I'm going to do with them for the rest of the year.  There are a few possibilities...
1.  Proof by Induction
2. Row-Echelon Form of a system/matrix
3.  Sequences and Series

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. . . any opinions?  Advice?

Also, I was thinking that I might have the kids do some measuring of the triangles in the courtyard of our school one day to find their areas, but I don't have a real purpose or question about it.


don said...

I'd do RREF. Solving 3 eqn's with 3 unknowns is just too cool. Then, showing how the TI-84 (or other calculator) can do it, awesome!

nyates314 said...

Sequences & series would be my pick as the most fun of the three! I like the patterns involved, and the amazing fact that some similar & related series behave so differently. The sum of the reciprocals of natural numbers (i.e. harmonic series) diverges, yet the sum of their squares converges. The sum of the reciprocals of primes diverges, even though the primes get sparser and sparser among the naturals!

Anyway, this is just spoken from an observer's standpoint, since I've not yet taught precalculus.

KFouss said...

Thanks for your input! My only problem with RREF is that the kids already know how to solve them on their calculators, so it would be a constant fight over "why do we have to do it this way?" I enjoy sequences & series, too, and there's some fun stuff to do with it. I might hit them for a while and then finish up with the inductive proofs - wouldn't that be a great way to finish up the year?!