What do Ferris Wheels, sound waves, hours of daylight, moon phases, and ocean tides all have in common? All of these natural phenomenon can be modeled with mathematics and represent natural periodic patterns. In 11th grade Pre-Calculus, some students are currently working on the Modeling Periodic Function project. They’re learning how to analyze patterns and phenomena in the real-world, starting with a Ferris Wheel. As their final product, students will present a report or poster that shows the mathematical model of a phenomena of their choice. Next time they go to an amusement park and ride the Ferris Wheel, they’ll know the mathematical modeling to making it work!
In Mr. Lajoie’s (left side of left picture) class at Summit Shasta (Daly City), students are in the early stages of the Modeling Periodic Function project and learning about the angles, coordinates, and degrees in a unit circle (or the outline of a Ferris Wheel).