Going off on a Tangent Project

This Going off on a Tangent Project activity & project also includes:

Slope of a curve is a seemingly paradoxical concept tackled in this step-by-step activity. Conversational in tone and approachable in its bite-sized attack, this lesson leads learners to develop the concept of tangential slopes themselves. Effectively mixed-level questions are used to prompt both calculation efforts and larger questions of the meaning and implication of slope. By using discovery learning methods, students do more than memorize the limit definition of slope, they develop the concept themselves.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Could be integrated with physics or physical science to make a cross-curricular unit (projectile motion, speed or acceleration calculations)
  • Would work as an advanced algebra 2 lesson (especially in small groups) or a precalculus/calculus remediation on slope of tangents
Classroom Considerations

  • Dense and high-vernacular reading passages might require additional ESL support
  • Space provided between questions might not be sufficient for showing necessary work 

  • Self-directed activity, with approachable directions and summaries for each section
  • Complex concepts and terminology introduced and explicated in a non-intimidating fashion

  • Learners are directed to recreate lines/curves from graphs on page 3, but individual parts of the graphs are impossible to discern