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# Long Distance Relationships Project

Lesson 16 of 22

## Objective: SWBAT to make meaningful comparisons with large distances

*55 minutes*

#### Project Intro

*10 min*

This project gives students a creative option to play with large numbers and distances in scientific notation.

I share the first paragraph of this article on Long_Distance_Relationships to start the conversation. The rest of the article is distracting, but *mostly* appropriate for middle school. If you want to have them review the entire article with your students, make sure you do a bit of censoring.

The premise of this project is simple: "How long would it take to reach your partner if they lived in a distant part of space?"

I ask students to work in partnerships and pick a location and method of of travel.

I give students these three links to pick their destination:

They can choose any reasonable method of travel. For example, they can fly a rocket, drive a space car, ride at warp drive in a space ships or even ride a bike. The basic rule we will follow is that the method of travel has to be linear and can not involve worm holes, dimensional shifts, etc.

Even though our travel times will be based on a made up premise of traveling in space with any vehicle we want at an average speed based on vehicle performance, we don't want to allow a method of travel that reduces the actual distance. Instead, we only allow methods of travel that go really fast or slow through the distances required.

During this project, students choose a location to travel and then tell us how far it is, how long it will take to get there and their thoughts on how much the trip will cost.

**Article Source**:

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#### Getting Started

*25 min*

This is a project that students begin in class and finish at home. They use computers during this work time to search for a distant location and find a few methods of travel to get there. I place some useful links on my website for galaxy locations, but they can use any acceptable website to find their method of travel. However, I ask that they cite their sources. For citation guidelines, I always ask the humanities teacher for updates. I use the same format and expectations for this project that they would have in a research project in humanities. The goal is to be consistent.

For students, the goal during this 25 minutes is to find the information they need and begin saving critical links. I let students work on the main goals of the project without yet giving any detail (unless they request it). I usually give the hand out at the end of class, since they need some time to work with this project before they recognize questions.

I used to always give all the information upfront, but I find that this overwhelms many students. Instead, I give the information out to those who request it and then give it to everyone at the end of the session.

My goal during this time is to circulate and to listen. I want to hear the students' ideas for modeling the cost, time and distance of an interstellar trip. I record great ideas on the board and quote the students as they work. This helps me lead a meaningful conversation at the end.

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#### Summary

*20 min*

Projects are a great opportunity for students to engage in mathematical practices. In this project, they need to be precise in their work, to model an abstract problem, and to argue about the validity of their algorithms. I use today's summary time to highlight mathematical practices as we review some of the ideas students have already generated about the project.

I start by reviewing basic expectations of the project and give out this hand out: Long Distance Guidelines. I explain each step and give examples of what it means to "show your work." I make sure to model this process, because every teacher has different expectations around explanations. My expectations are very high and want students to understand what I am looking for.

The toughest step for many is modeling cost. Many students are looking for the "right" answer, when in reality they are only modeling a range of possibilities. We don't know what this trip would cost. Even if it were a real trip in a real space vehicle, there are many unknowns. In this project, students get a chance to deal with the unknown.

I give students about a week to finish this project, but ask them to work individually and at home. Students can stay in for lunch or after school if they want help. As always, they can email me at any time if they are stuck with some part of their project. Partners can help each other (since they chose the same destinations and methods of travel), but each student submits his/her own work at the conclusion of the project.

I finish today's class by giving out the rubric and explaining how I will use it in the grading process: Long Distance Relationships Rubric.

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- UNIT 1: Starting Right
- UNIT 2: Scale of the Universe: Making Sense of Numbers
- UNIT 3: Scale of the Universe: Fluency and Applications
- UNIT 4: Chrome in the Classroom
- UNIT 5: Lines, Angles, and Algebraic Reasoning
- UNIT 6: Math Exploratorium
- UNIT 7: A Year in Review
- UNIT 8: Linear Regression
- UNIT 9: Sets, Subsets and the Universe
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- UNIT 11: Law and Order: Special Exponents Unit
- UNIT 12: Gimme the Base: More with Exponents
- UNIT 13: Statistical Spirals
- UNIT 14: Algebra Spirals

- LESSON 1: Units and Vast Systems of Measurement
- LESSON 2: Adding and Subtracting in Scientific Notation
- LESSON 3: Mad Libs and Math Libs
- LESSON 4: Yuck! Word Problems...
- LESSON 5: The World of Microns
- LESSON 6: 100 People: An Assessment
- LESSON 7: Khan Academy and Scientific Notation Intuition
- LESSON 8: Khan Academy and Scientific Notation Conversions
- LESSON 9: Khan Academy and Orders of Magnitude
- LESSON 10: Khan Academy and Multiplying and Dividing with Scientific Notation
- LESSON 11: Khan Academy and Computations in Scientific Notation
- LESSON 12: Khan Academy Patterns in Zeros
- LESSON 13: Delta Math and Scientific Notation
- LESSON 14: Video Quiz (Alternative Assessment)
- LESSON 15: How far is that?
- LESSON 16: Long Distance Relationships Project
- LESSON 17: Long Distance Relationship Follow Up
- LESSON 18: How big is that?
- LESSON 19: The Universcale (A Project)
- LESSON 20: Universcale Project Follow Up
- LESSON 21: The Digital Scientific Notation Worksheet
- LESSON 22: The Cost of the Death Star