Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ferris Wheel Math

I'm having my students relate what they've learned about amplitude, period, phase shift and vertical shift to a real world scenario involving ferris wheels.  I started  by having them read chapter 15 of the book, The Joy of X which I've blogged about before.  It's a chapter about the ubiquitousness (is that a word?) of the sine curve.  It's a great read!  We then focused in on the example of the Ferris wheel that he gives in the chapter.  I started by working through the first problem on the worksheet with them.  I then turned them loose to do the card match and work the second problem.  The conversations they had and the observations they made were amazing!  And I love love love the card match - it really forces them to see the connection between the graphs, the equations, and the descriptions of the Ferris wheels.  One of the graphs doesn't have a matching equation, so they have to write that equation themselves, and two of the descriptions get used twice, which brings up a great conversation about how that can happen.  I loved this activity!

Ferris Wheel Activity

Note - I didn't realize that the problem was in meters, so on the last question you can either ask them for meters/min and km/hr or you can have them change meters to feet in the problem.  Sorry about that!

Ferris Wheel Card Match


  1. Thanks for sharing these activities. They will be used at my school next year for sure when we dive in to trig graphing.

    By the way, I think the word you want to use is ubiquity

    1. Your students will love these! And you will too! And I knew ubiquitousness wasn't right because I got the little red squiggle under it, but I wasn't sure what the right word would be, so thanks! Ubiquity!

  2. Just want you to know I linked to this in my virtual filing cabinet on my website.

    Thanks again!