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Regina Toscani's picture

The cougar problem

Rebecca's approach to this problem was interesting.  I don't think I ever had a class where I had to derive an equation to solve the problem.  However, once we started the data collecting process, I felt very comfortable.  I enjoy manipulating numbers and plotting them.  Like many others, I had a diificult time (at first) with the rate of change.  Intuitively, I knew that the rate changed as the temperture changed.  Yet the first attempt to plot this was wrong.  Rebecca had to point out the the "x" axis should be the temperture data.  It took me awhile to understand but I eventually did.

I thought that I might incorporate the concept of rate of change (of temperture) into my Life Skills curriculum.  The first lesson would be having each student taking their body temperture and recording this.  Of course some of the students will have a difficult time with this so first I'll model the action, and pair the students to help each other.  The lesson will have a discussion about what this number means (in terms of health).  The next group of lessons will be having the students outside ,taking and recording the air temperture.  Then a general discussion of how that temperture makes us feel (Hot, cool, good, etc.).  After several days of this (and hopefully there be a range of tempertures) we'll review the data and comments.  Some students might be able to relate that the smaller the number of the temperture, the more people become colder.  Again we'll have a discussion, (including how a person's clothing will change as the temperture number gets smaller).  The next lesson I'll reintroduce the body's temperture and ask the children to compare that number to the air temperture.  The next part is to subtract the 2 numbers, (and still writing comments about how the air's temperture make us feel) and after several days, hopefully a pattern will form.  Ther bigger the difference between the numbers the more the temperture affects us. 

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