The Anatomy of a Super Soaker and other PBL Math Resources

wpiI have been running Project and Problem Based workshops for a while now and it has been an easy transition for English, Social Studies and Science teachers because there are lots of great resources around to help them out.  Many Math teachers have felt left out, but that is no longer the case!  I have discovered a great resource for integrating Problem Based learning into the Math curriculum, The Center for Industrial Mathematics and Statistics which  is a wealth of real world Math projects.  It runs the gamut from basic math to calculus.  Here is a direct link to the project data base: http://www.wpi.edu/academics/math/CIMS/IMPHSS/projects.html

These projects are engaging and relevant. They contain areas of application, background, materials needed, and a download of the file which contains any handouts, rubrics, and sample solutions. Furthermore, the projects contain real world, fun problems such as “What affects the distance a SuperSoaker water gun can shoot water?” While the projects are linked to Massachusetts State Standards, they are also easily aligned with the Common Core Standards. This particular lesson, for example, is aligned with 8.SP.A.1 through 8.SP.A.4. Students will be entertained by the project as they discover opportunities for “more strategic and intense water gun competitions and games” while fine tuning their skills in algebra, probability, and other areas of math.

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The inner workings of the SuperSoaker. Courtesy of “How Stuff Works”

These projects teach the mathematical skills our students need to compete in today’s industries in a fun and engaging way.  Let’s open up the world of mathematics to more students today!

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