Thursday, April 24, 2014

Parametric/Projectile Motion Simulated in Desmos - A Common Core Activity for Algebra/Precalculus

[Updated using folders to reduce amount of visible text. Click on the arrow next to the Folder icon to see the frames below. Thanks to Desmos team for this helpful hint!]


The Desmos activity above is both an investigation of parametric representation and a tutorial for more advanced use of this remarkable WebApp. The The text in the side frames begins with a detailed background of the activity for the instructor and how Desmos can be used to demonstrate projectile motion using both parametric and rectangular coordinates. Some of the uses of slider 'variables' are demonstrated including animation, a powerful feature of Desmos.

In addition to showing how to use parameters in Desmos, the activity itself asks students to compare two different trajectories, representing an object dropped from some initial height, then a 2nd object two seconds later. The horizontal translation of the first graph is juxtaposed against the algebraic representations of these graphs using both system of coordinates.

The student activity starts about halfway down. There is a series of questions and actions the student needs to take in Desmos.

I'm hoping this will prove useful for both the instructor and the student.  Desmos is powerful but, in my opinion, some of the illustrative examples provided by Desmos do not flesh out the ideas behind the various uses of slider 'variables'. I'm hoping this will fill in some of those gaps.  I'm still a novice here so I'm sure more advanced users will be able to improve upon this...

Your comments and reactions are very helpful to me...

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