Reflection: Real World Applications The Tortoise and The Hare Project Day 1 - Section 3: Writing Functions to Model the Scenario


I was pleased with how quickly my students found the Equations for the tortoise and the rat.  The only minor hiccup there was the ¾ slope for the tortoise.  This was a unit issue.  Once the students decided to keep it in feet, they fairly quickly turned 9 inches into ¾ feet.  The hare, which in my opinion is the easiest equation, stumped a lot of students.  They got really nervous when they couldn’t find the y-intercept.  I asked them about the hare’s initial point and when they told me the starting line, I asked them what number this represented.  I find so often that students forget that zero is an actually number and doesn’t mean no solution. 

The place where my students got really stumped was the one minute mark (T=60) and the finish line (d=1320).  So many students wanted to create a line in y=mx+b form.  I approached this in several methods.  The most success I had was pulling them back to the scenario.  I would ask, “What does the one minute mark mean?”  They would tell me that the time was 60 seconds.  I would then ask if there was any other important information to which they would respond no.  At this point many of them could find the equation.  Other students needed another step.  I would give them an example like if I had $100 dollars, I could write the equation d=100.  Most would jump on the correct equations right away.  I would also have them graph the information and looking at it visually helped some find the proper equation.  I have to say that I'm not surprised at these challenges as I've seen them happen so many times before but I do find it interesting that students so often want to complicate things.

  Real World Applications: It's So Easy That It's Hard
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The Tortoise and The Hare Project Day 1

Unit 2: Modeling with Functions
Lesson 12 of 24

Objective: Students will be able to write and evaluate functions modeling a race between the tortoise and the hare.

Big Idea: Will the tortoise win again? Students will not only find out but write a mathematical story about it.

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