ECHS Students Use 3D Printing to Model Real World Math


Students in Pre-AP Algebra II used polynomial parabolas formed by factoring to create 3D printed roller coasters. Mr. Spillers, the AP Algebra II and AP Geometry teacher gave the option of using the Xbox or 3D Printer. The students were charged with the question below to begin their Project Based Learning Assignment:

We use math every day. Whether we are counting our change at the store or the time until school lets out, math is used by every person every day.

“Sure, but that is basic math, where do we use Algebra 2 in real life?”

I’m glad you asked. One place that you can find algebra 2 is in the structures around you. Many of the graphs you learn about can be used to model the shape of buildings and sculptures as part of the planning process. If you have ever seen a roller coaster, there is an equation to match us with the shape of each segment of the track.

As a matter of fact, I want you to do just that. Use the graphs that we are about to learn to design your own roller coaster. Your roller coaster can then be displayed in the classroom (if you make a 3D printed model) or it can be shared online (if you make a coaster on the Xbox).

How can we use polynomial graphs to design roller coasters?