Cowabunga Algebra

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Students will be able to research their Math Exploratorium topic.

Big Idea

Modeling with Linear Algebra

Start Up

15 minutes
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30 minutes
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15 minutes

I finish these sessions by sharing ideas and happenings of the day. I try and share the plans that are developing in some groups. I might say, “I conferenced with this group and they are going to connect their science and math work for this project.” I follow up by asking the group explain, “could you explain what you are researching and why you think it might be interesting?”


This group was interesting. They discovered that their science topic, which is studying the correlation between exercise and reaction time might be perfect for their research around linear functions. They even came up with a storyline involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a chase scene involving the villain Shredder. They reasoned through this in the way that only  a middle student would: we are looking at exercise and reaction time. We can imagine that the Turtles will need to run and exercise in order to catch Shredder. After they chase him we can measure their heart rates and compare their reaction times. For them this is a perfect connection. I know they will embrace this work because it is their invention.


After the group explains, we review the details and expectations for the math research. We discuss how they need to address all the directions and questions on their group feedback sheet and write about this in a cohesive group journal. I review the rubric and make sure that each group is aware of the upcoming due date.