Thursday, 1 December 2011

Plotting Quadratics Basketball Style

I am a big Dan Meyer fan, and I am always trying to teach in a more engaging fashion. I generally have to look to adapt his resources to suit the level of my students - although I am trying to push my students to their full potential. One of my favourite resources Dan has published was his "Will it hit the hoop?" - and this week I have finally managed to use it!

I used it with a group 13/14 year olds and it was fantastic. My learning intentions were as follows
1. To be able to visualise quadratic equations.
2. To be able to plot a quadratic equation.
3. To begin to recognise the impact of changing co-efficients and constants of a quadratic equation.

The students were engaged, keen to learn, eager for the result and more importantly left the lesson confident they could plot a very complicated quadratic equation.

Format of the lesson
1. Play Basketball introduction outlining learning intentions.

2. Discuss quadratic graphs and their features - visual demonstration via an interactive quadratic graph generator.
3. Give out worksheet and laminated take 1 sheet with a whiteboard pen.

Pupils use calculators to work out points and plot them on their basketball sheet. Pupils come up to the IWB and drag the basketball into the correct position. Lots of discussion at this point and pupils decide whether Dan scores a basket. I show them the video and pupils get off with completing the exercise.

4. The activity takes about 40 minutes, we then run through the answers via the videos. I only actually plotted the last 2 co-ordinates near the basket.

Amazing lesson - I loved it - they loved and most importantly they came up saying they could plot quadratic equations. Any comments welcome.

Here are the resources - a big thanks to Dan Meyer who without his videos it would not have been possible to make this lesson. Please accept my apologies for my poor grammar / punctuation etc.


Possible lesson  improvements -

  • More discussion about the equations and the effects of altering the equation.
  • Digital improvements - equation and table on the same sheet as the graph.

I intend to try to get an older group of students to use Geogebra to model the basketball path and find the equations for themselves.

The goods!


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  2. Kamaron, Why did you suggest watching the NFL games onlne? What does that have to do with the lesson?