Slope & Vectors

Unit Objective: This unit is designed to introduce the concept of slope and vectors. Although the activities were written for an Algebra 2 course, they could easily be adapted for other courses.

Activity 1: Vec-->Touring

Objective: Students will use basic math skills to create vectors and emphasize the basic concepts used to define slope.

Wyoming Standards:  Math 2.2-Students communicate, using mathematical language, to analyze
properties and determine attributes of 2- and 3-  dimensional objects.
Math 2.4-Students solve problems involving the coordinate plane such as slope.
Sci 2.2-Students use inquiry to conduct scientific investigations.

Materials Needed: Computer lab with web access and Java installed (1 or 2 students per workstation), computer projector

Time: 40 minutes

Directions: Use your computer and projector to launch the Vec-->Touring web site. Use the projector to show the students how to use the controls using an easy example. Point out the controls on the left including the volume adjustment (very handy).  The controls for entering vectors are a little strange. For example, to move 3 units to the right and 2 units down the student would have to:

click the “X” button, the “right arrow”, and the “3”
followed by
click the “Y” button, the “down arrow”, and the “2”.
Then hit the “Go” button.

Have the students do one easy example before they try the more difficult examples. The more difficult  ones have decimals. Most students will begin the easy examples by counting the number of boxes horizontally and vertically. When they get some practice they will use the location controls in the lower left and then add or subtract accordingly.

After about 30 minutes of playing have the students quit the simulation and discuss how slope is defined as rise over run. Ask the students how they found rise and run on the simulation. Emphasize that left arrow and down arrow are negatives  when graphing or finding slope. This is also a good opportunity to introduce the slope formula since the students were using most of it during the simulation.