Here Comes Halley!

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SWBAT to organize, analyze, and predict functional data.

Big Idea

Using points in history for data, students will organize a scatter plot to determine when Halley's Comet will next visit earth.

Warm Up

5 minutes

For today's Warm Up, I provided students a data table and ask them to find the rule. This table, however,  does not have consecutive x-values, which will force some students to change their strategies when finding rules/equations. My hope is that the dialog that will occur during Warm Up will continue to move students toward greater conceptual understanding of the interrelationships of the different representations of function. 

Here Comes Halley!

35 minutes

Today's activity, Here Comes Halley!, will require to pull data (dates) from a timeline and organize them into a scatter plot in order to predict when Halley's Comet will likely visit earth next. Because the students have now had several opportunities to practice scatter plots and lines of best fit, I expect this to be a relatively easy task.  I do open the lesson, however, asking students to think about what data will fill their data tables. This short conversation will be enough to get students started off in the right direction.

As students work on this activity, I am wandering in my "teacher data collection mode", watching specifically for misconceptions and teachable moments.

When the activity timer sounds, I call students' attention back to the smartboard for closure.


5 minutes

For closure of today's lesson, I ask each student to write his/her prediction for the year Halley will return on a sticky note.  I ask them to do this privately so I get honest data.  Once all students have their sticky note ready, I call one table up at a time to place their predicted year on a timeline.  If a student repeats a year already posted, I ask him/her to "stack" the sticky note so that a nice line plot emerges.

Once all students have posted their data, I facilitate a discussion about the resulting line plot with questions like, "What does this data display tell us about when Halley is likely to return?" and "What does this line plot tell us about our use of Mathematical Practice 6- attending to precision?" and "Will Halley appear during your lifetime? On your way out the door, tell me how old you will likely be."