Inspired by this post from Geoff Kraal, I am going to spend the next five class days (80 minutes each) plus homework time working on a large-scale project in which my three geometry classes will build small, child-size soccer goals out of PVC pipe. When we’re finished, the goals will be given to faculty children (including one goal for mine!)

The students will be broken into groups of 6 to 8. Each student will, individually:

- Decide what size pieces of PVC they will need using the Pythagorean Theorem for the diagonals
- Figure out the angle they need to rotate the diagonal pieces using tangent ratios
- Create a scale 3D model of the diagram using the online 3D modeling software 3DTin. I will provide them with this template for the fittings. This will require them to work and think in three dimensions, of course, as well as deal with scaling.
- Write a report explaining all of the above, with extra focus on the mathy bits.

The whole group will then break into subgroups to accomplish the big three group goals:

- Create the goal itself. Every student will measure and cut at least one piece, while one student manages the process.
- Make a video documenting the design, building, and assembling process. Several students will work on this as writers, editors, and videographers. (Mathematical communication)
- Make a document that contains instructions and diagrams for assembling the goal from the components, since some of our goals will be given to faculty members for their children in disassembled form.

We are lucky that we have a brand new maker space on campus where we can do the measuring and cutting with support from excellent staff members.

I’ve spent a TON of time trying to think through the organization and group job assignments that can make this effective, so I’m crossing my fingers that it goes well. It’s a big risk because in terms of “testable content” we are not doing much new in these five days – really, tangent ratios, a 15-minute mini lecture, is all we’re getting in that domain – but I think it will be an extremely valuable

*general STEM*project. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.You can access all of the support documents I’ve created for this project, including some instructions on using 3Dtin and job descriptions for the sub projects, in this shared folder on Google Drive. The .one file is the original – I created these documents using OneNote, which I use to distribute all notes and handouts to my students, but it is also available in Word (may have formatting issues) and PDF if you prefer.

Advertisements