Hands-on Mathematics Lesson

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Rocky Point High School students in Jason Rand’s calculus class had the chance to put their mathematical skills to practical use during a recent outdoor lesson on slope. 

Working in groups, the students brainstormed ways to measure the slope of the hill in the back “pit” field section and then used various supplies to complete the task. While each group’s approach to the problem was different, many began by finding either the rise and run of the hill or the angle formed by a line from the top to the bottom, and then using basic trigonometry skills to determine the other angle. From there, they were able to successfully find the slope. 

After each group completed their measurements, Mr. Rand demonstrated how surveyors use a tripod and scope to complete the same task and provided the students with the chance to test this method. 

The reinforcement of these mathematical skills will aid the students when they need to find the slope of a line on any curve.