The Speedometer Problem

So, I’m preparing to begin teaching calculus next year for the very first time. There has been a calculus course at my school before, but no one was very excited about it and I got the feel from the discussion that it needed a bit of an overhaul.

It’s helped immensely that Sam Shah and Jim Fowler have reached out to me with their personal stash of awesome Calculus stuff and Justin Lanier sent me to Shawn Cornally‘s website for even more goodies. These have been fantastic. It’s been a bit overwhelming at this point, but I’ve started navigating through it and I am starting to make some sense of all of it.

In the meantime, I had an idea for a possible problem that could fit into a couple of different calculus units. Or possibly physics. What also might be interesting is to watch an Algebra II class or a group of middle schoolers tackle this problem… as long as they don’t get motion sickness from the video.

How far do me and my daughter travel during the video?

I am excited about this problem. The task is easy to understand. Students should have no problem getting into the context. It doesn’t point to a particular method of solution, so there is a high degree of creativity. Plus, I would expect that most students will be able to make decent predictions since the answer will be so approachable.

And you get a first-hand experience of what seven-and-a-half minutes in the car with my daughter is like.

2 thoughts on “The Speedometer Problem

    • 7:34 is a long time, but perhaps that could lead to some interesting conversations itself. How could we be maintain our accuracy and not watch the whole video?

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