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S'more ways to learn quadratic functions

Beth Rueger’s Algebra 2 has been having too much fun with quadratic functions and trajectory. So, she took it to the next step, and decided to make a marshmallow lab out of it.

The Algebra 2 class performed a lab Sept. 20 in which the students used a catapult to launch marshmallows and record the intercepts where the objects would land.

“Students have been studying quadratic functions since Algebra 1. In Algebra 2, we carry it further to look at all three forms and applications,” said Rueger.

The catapult also isn’t just store bought--the students are required to make them out of objects lying around the house.

“Students were required to make their catapults for items lying around the house. It is a no-cost project, and parents should not be asked to drive them to the store,” Rueger said.

The teacher said the most popular household items for construction were “plastic eating utensils, cans, pieces of wood, pencils, and rubber bands.”

“This project is to benefit the students in mind-provoking activities and help them further in life with challenges including money,” she explained.

Students were not graded on how well their catapults worked, or how far the marshmallow went. Instead, they were graded on effort and accountability. They were also graded on completeness of a worksheet in which they recorded data and turned it in. Rueger

“Students will gather data and use the data to develop equations in the three forms. They will turn in a worksheet with all their calculations,” Rueger said.

Andres Gutierrez '21, Aminata Ouattara '21 and Kallen Tyler '21 put last minute touches on their handmade catapults before putting them to work to solve math problems. Photo by Maezi Marrs '22

Rueger said she is looking out for her students and trying to teach them the best habits that they can use later on in math and in the outside world. She said she wants her classes to also have fun and learn at the same time.

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