As part of our high school extended year program this year, the eighth graders in our district are participating in an Algebra Camp. They have been presented with a variety of unique learning experiences that incorporate math and algebra concepts. The students have been very receptive to the concepts and activities presented and the math teachers participating are a fantastic group of teachers.
The teachers planning the camp have asked different individuals or groups to come speak to small groups of students on how math is used in their job. Our district's Technology and Media Team (@dtownsend20, @lukevan12, and myself) was asked to be guest speakers and talk about how we use math in our jobs. After some discussion, we unanimously agreed there is a lot of math in technology, but so much of it is "behind the scenes" and we take for granted that we don't have to do much of it to make things work. So, we chose a technology resource that many students are familiar with and chose to highlight some of the math concepts present. So what is an engaging technology resource that many students are already familiar with? You got it, Angry Birds (thank you Chrome Web Store!).
After searching online, I found some great reference articles here, here and here for how Angry Birds can be used in the classroom. We decided to use an interactive white board to engage the kids in the game and had them use the markers to predict shooting angles for the birds. Some of the other topics we discussed while playing were:
- Plotting points of the shooting arc
- How the shape of the bird impacts the destruction
The students had great discussion while playing, but I think the most exciting part was when they got to challenge their teachers to a level! We had great feedback from the teachers who were able to watch and hope it provided the students with some background knowledge for when they participate in their water balloon launch at the end of Algebra Camp!