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Math project fun, educational

For most of the students on campus, math is not exactly the most exciting subject. But on Nov. 3, campus algebra II teacher Mike Fenton proved that there is a fun side to mathematics.

Fenton?s project, ?how fast can you throw,? had students throw a tennis ball into the air. With only a stopwatch and a pattern they developed in class, the students determined the speed they were throwing the tennis balls.

?It was more hands-on than what we normally do in math class,? David Quenzer, ?08, said. ?I had a good time because we got to go outside and actually do an activity that also taught us something.?

While one student tossed tennis ball into the air, another group member recorded how long it stayed aloft. The longer the ball was in the air, the faster the ball had been thrown.

The lesson also included an element of history, as the class studied Galileo?s experiment of dropping various objects from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

?I felt it was more scientific than mathematic,? Quenzer said. ?However, I still found it very interesting because of the history that we learned.?

Students also found the activity enjoyable as well as educational.

?I thought we learned some viable algebraic formulas,? Phil Unruh, ?07, said. ?I liked the fact that Mr. Fenton mixed learning and fun into one event.?

The activity applies to graphing quadratic functions the class will learn later on in the year.

?Surprisingly I had a lot of fun,? Calvin Smith, ?07, said. ?It was something not expected and different from the daily norm.?

For junior high classes, the students compared their speeds to the students who play softball, which teaches them about data collection and analysis.

What the class learned in ?how fast can you throw? could also be applied to real life.

?In baseball, people are able to figure out how far the ball goes, or how fast the pitcher throws the ball just by measuring how far it goes in a small distance,? Fenton said. ?With this formula, the students are learning how to do the same thing.?

For more information on math projects, refer to the online article ?Math project races cars, jump ramps? which appeared on The Feather on Oct. 24, or contact Fenton at [email protected].

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