This project combines the mathematics of slope with percent grade and angle of elevation. Then, students apply the science process of engineering to design and tinker with a launcher that demonstrates the physics of projectiles and parabolic curves.
I am using this project during my linear equations in two variables unit to re-enforce the concept of slope and make connections to right triangle trig - Tangent. The next unit for my students is functions and we study linear, quadratic, and exponential functions in detail so I love the research students are doing after the project on the physics of parabolic curves in projectile motion. With the next generation science standards hands on labs and engineering principles are heavily emphasized so this is a cross curricular project.
I am using this project after the lesson - zip line slopes because the additional math concepts of percent grade and the tangent ratio are discussed at the end of that lesson prior to beginning this project. I am allowing students two weeks to prepare all portions of the project accept the reflection piece. I am giving about three class periods to work and the additional time is outside of class. We will make two targets out of paper and fire off two launchers at the same time so one class period will test all projects. During the launching I plan to set up two tripods and film in slow motion using my phone I will share each students' videos with them for the reflection piece. I will then allow two class period for reflection.