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.


  1. I wish my kids had laptops. I like the lesson and even though it's not "real-life applications," it's something they'll be engaged with.

  2. I this this is a great lesson. Wonder how it could be done without GeoGebra, since it is a free program my district will not install it on the computers at all and blocks the site entirely.

  3. Awesome Idea!!!!! I didn't even think about making the Angry Birds connection...I'm sharing this ... thanks :)

  4. brillante!!! lo comparto con mis estudiantes

  5. Thanks, great idea!!

    On my system [code]GeoGebra Webstart (05 March 2011)
    Java: 1.6.0_24
    OS: Windows 7
    CAS: MathPiper .81d

    the command is TrendPoly[{A,B,C},2].

    Screenshots on the iPod touch can be made by pressing the home button and the power button simultaneously. The screen flashes bright and the screen is saved to the pictures folder.

  6. We have a version of Angry Birds too
    Geogebra Institute of Portugal

  7. @Jean: You don't have to install Geogebra - you can run it from the web. You'll have to be able to run Java and say no to block it if it asks about this

  8. Nice activity. If your students want to learn GeoGebra extensively, I have created more than 50 GeoGebra tutorials from beginner to advanced level here:

  9. I have to admit I thought I had a unique idea last year when I referenced Angry Birds last year. I have been working on a Problem-Based Learning unit on Angry Birds and just found Geogebra today. You are one step ahead of me.

    Do you know of any other tools or applets that I could use to fit my parabola to the bird's path?

  10. Can some help me out? The help file from GeoGebra wont download. How do I input or upload a picture into GeoGebra?

  11. @jhill, I would also like to know how to upload/unput a picture into GeoGebra so that I can do this in class. This dawned upon me yesterday as I was playing the game on my iphone, and was realizing it was a perfect parabola each time. Light bulbs definitely went off in my head!!! Then I came to this blog.

  12. Hi,
    Just happened to see these comments. I suppose you all have figured out how to insert an image into Geogebra by now.
    For those who still need to know, see the You Tube video at :

    You will also have related videos on the left panel at the You Tube site.

  13. Addison (and others): My district won't let me install either, but you can use geogebra from a web applet as long as you have Java, so you don't need to install.