A unique project had eighth graders use pre-algebra to clock speeding drivers, and then presented their case to a judge. They learned how to use laser speed guns, and applied thier knowledge of math to make the computations.
The project was an example of project based learning, where students solve complex problems for an extended period through experience and knowledge. According to Lenz, the project also covered several Common Core standards.
Last year, Lenz wanted to try project based learning, and found an online method on LIDAR technology, the science behind radar scanning. The project grew from there. Each student had to prove if a client was guilty or innocent of speeding by using scientific notation, the Pythagorean Theorem, and other mathematical ideas. They determined if the speek was measured correctly based on the officers location on the road, and how fast the lasers returned to the gun.
They presented the math on posters, and presented their findings to a judge who was played by the school superintendent. If they students dressed like lawyers, they got extra points.