So, later in Algebra 1, when we get to Functions (probably around early November), I am going to have the kids do this super awesome project!
The current title is, "Is It Linear?", but I am hoping to change it. That's just what I've been calling it in my head.
I haven't typed anything up or hammered out all the details yet, but the basic idea is that kids will make a hypothesis about a relationship they think is linear. For example, the temperature of water vs. time in the microwave or the distance of the water vs the number of pumps on my Super Soaker. Then, in their science class (I'm already in cahoots with the 9th grade Science teacher!) they will develop an experiment, perform it and collect data. Lastly, in my math class, we'll use the data to create a scatterplot, find the line of best fit, determine how "linear" the relationship is, etc.
I'm stoked! I love that they will get to work on this project in two classes. I love that we will start it relatively early in the unit, before they really have a grasp of what functions are, and use it to help them come to that understanding. I love that it will (hopefully) clarify and deeply define what "linear" is, in a way other than "it makes a line."
I've been working on it here and there since the middle of the summer, and will keep doing so until we do it, so I hope it turns out to be as valuable as I am imagining.
Anyway, what I'd love from you are some ideas for students to test. I'd like to have my own list to prod kids along if they are having troubles coming up with something. Truthfully, it doesn't even have to end up being linear, just something kids might think is linear beforehand. That actually might be pretty cool if someone gets results that aren't linear.