Friday, February 25, 2011

Angry Birds Geogebra

Angry Birds is a pretty popular game with the kids nowadays.  My students brought up the game when we started talking about parabolas and I've been working on a way to bring that connection into a class.  So, I created a lesson using GeoGebra and some screenshots from Angry Birds mixed in with some inspiration from Dan's Will The Ball Hit The Can?

I created 4 GeoGebra files each with a piece of a different Angry birds shot like so:

Using GeoGebra, students worked in groups of 2 on their laptops to place points onto the bird's trail as accurately as possible to create a quadratic models in order to decide if the bird would score a direct hit on any of the pigs.  If you had 4 points labeled A-D, for instance, the GeoGebra command would be FitPoly[A, B, C, D, 2]

Some commands that helped them place their points accurately:
CTRL=  Zooms in
CTRL- Zooms out
CTRL CLICK DRAG  Pans your view

Once students finished their files would look something similar to the file shown here:

Sorry, the GeoGebra Applet could not be started. Please make sure that Java 1.4.2 (or later) is installed and active in your browser (Click here to install Java now)

We then discussed if they thought they scored a hit, what would happen when it hit, and then showed them the big reveal:
Overall, the students were engaged, worked hard to get their answers, and learned how to use GeoGebra to create quadratic models.  If you'd like the files I used you can find them here:  Angry Birds GeoGebra files

PS- I'm muddling through learning GeoGebra, so if you know of a better way to do things than I'm doing, let me know.