So last week Nicole and I tried a new game. Shown here, it is called Winter Sports, the Ultimate Challenge. Nicole actually found a used copy for only a few bucks at a popular chain store. We had been talking about being able to do ski jumping to work on the formula R=TxD (rate = time times distance). We were discussing using the Wii Fit board because there is a game that allows you to ski jump; but, we decided that one would be more difficult (more about that later) and would require the extra equipment so we thought we would try this one. It worked great! Basically the students have to go down the hill, pull up on the controllers and keep balance while you stick the landing - or not!
Because this was the first time we played this game the students were much more concerned with how to play the game and less concerned about what they were doing when it came to the Math. After the first jump I heard one of the students in the room say "What the heck does any of this have to do with Math?!" "Well, I am so excited that you asked!!" we answered. Nicole led the Math lesson at the front of the room. The student jumped 81.1 meters at a top speed of 83.07kph. The first thing we did was make our formula - 81.1m = T x 83.07kph. The next thing was to convert the meters to kilometers. So, 81.1 meters becomes .0811km. From there we divide both sides by 83.07 (which BTW we had the students complete by hand - no calculators for this class). Move your decimals and begin division. We rounded at .001 or 1 thousandths of an hour. Now, that is our answer, but really, how long is that? So we figured out that if we multiply by 3600 we can figure out how many seconds is .001 of an hour. Why do we multiply by 3600? Because there are 60 minutes in 1 hour and 60 seconds in 1 minute. And, after all that math we get to a total of 3.6 seconds. So, if we traveled a distance of 81.1 meters at a speed of 83.07 kph, we were in the air for 3.6 seconds (and our landing was ugly!).
One thing that we didn't do (at least this first time we played) that could increase the level of difficulty was cross multiplication. When we had our answer of .001 seconds we could have put it into a problem of 1/1000 times 3600/1. Then have the students do the cross multiplication to get 3600/1000 which can be reduced to 18/5 or 3.6 seconds!
We were able to use the game to introduce a new concept and complete 5 different standards. Now, I don't have the complete standard numbers here (or even the correct wording), but the different standards covered here include:
1. conversion - we have to convert the kilometers per hours to meters because the distance jumped is in meters. As a quick aside, this is why we chose to play this game instead of the Wii Fit game. In that game your speed is measured in miles per hour but your distance is still presented in meters. So, if you wanted to add another conversion from English to metric, you may want to try that ski jumping.
2. use formulas (the already mentioned rate = time x distance)
3. solve 1 step problems using decimals in division
4. converting decimals into fractions
5. solving proportions and ratios
Here is the math from one of the students so you can see the results as well as the work involved in the problems that we completed during class. All in all Nicole and I were very excited. We will continue this work when we get back from break and try for another class of ski jumping for sure!
And stay tuned, Chris (yes, I am still in touch with her and she continues to work on the Wii without me) has found another new game which she is going to be trying with her class when we come back from Christmas break. I say "new" because it is actually a game that has been around for many, many years in one format or another. The creators must be getting royalties for a lifetime! You will have to check back to see which game we are talking about!