Electronic Proceedings of the Twenty-sixth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

San Antonio, Texas, March 20-23, 2014

Paper S60B

This is an electronic reprint, reproduced by permission of Pearson Education Inc. Originally appeared in the Proceedings of the Twenty-sixth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, Copyright (C) 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Linkages, Ellipses, and Elliptical Exercise Machines: Student Explorations

Melissa Burkhead


Trinity Valley School
7500 Dutch Branch Road
Fort Worth, TX 76132


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ABSTRACT

Exercise machines are splendid devices that help people in the modern age develop physical fitness, and their designs are excellent examples of mechanical linkages that students can study in mathematics class. There are numerous learning opportunities that arise when students create a model of such machines. Learning opportunities include exposing students to the basis of 'how mechanical things work' and to the realization that curve-drawing technology can apply to actual machines. Finally, students answer and provide justification for the question, 'Do elliptical exercise machines trace ellipses?' This paper discusses project-based learning experienced by a class of accelerated precalculus students at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, TX.

Keyword(s): precalculus, applications