Putting the M into STEM!
Mrs. Lisa Waldman, National Board Certified Teacher at East Pennsboro High School in Enola, PA uses NASA resources to excite her students about integrating mathematics and science while incorporating technology. She makes learning mathematics come to life with real world applications in each class. She also enjoys incorporating engineering lessons that she gained as a NASA Endeavor Fellow when applicable to the curriculum.
Students in Mrs. Waldman’s Honors Geometry class applied their knowledge of similar figures, surface area and volume while creating tetrahedron kites. They began the project by researching the historical significance of kites while designing their own models of them in learning groups. Using NASA’s Kite Simulator they discussed effects of wind and drag on their kites as they changed in size. After creating their first tetrahedron cells they placed four of them together to create a group kite. At each phase, the groups tested their kite and calculated the surface area, volume, and maximum altitude after measuring the angle of elevation. They incorporated their knowledge of 2 and 3D figures to determine the effects on the larger class scale models. To conclude the project they discussed and designed future kites.
Rocket Launching. In her algebra class, students explored Newton’s Laws and the effects of wind and gravity while studying quadratic equations by launching both air and water rockets. Using the knowledge and resources she gained from NASA Endeavor’s course, Physical Science in Motion, the students began their research with the NASA Rocket Modeler created by the Glenn Research Center to determine the most efficient materials and designs. After creating their models, the students launched their rockets outside on a football field. They timed their flights, drew parabolic flight paths, calculated the approximate distanced traveled, and acceleration. They also used clinometers to measure the angle of elevation and used trigonometric tables to solve the ratios she provided to calculate the maximum height of the rocket. They then compared those answers to common quadratic height equations found in most textbooks
h= -1/2 at2 +v1t + h1.
Applied Mathematics. In a Math Topics course Mrs. Waldman integrated various topics of Earth Science such as global warming, ocean acidification and ocean dynamics in a beach erosion study. While students enhanced their understanding about coastlines and oceans they applied mathematical skills of graphing, writing equations of lines and curves, and analyzing properties of trigonometric waves. Student calculated various statistics to determine the most cost effective preservation strategy for their adopted beach and wildlife. They also learned and discussed the natural process of how the coastlines were formed mathematically with the study of fractals. In order to make this unit more hands-on and meaningful to the students, Mrs. Waldman used various NASA satellite images to view carbon dioxide, phytoplankton pigment concentration, ocean salinity, and tide gauge data from NOAA.
She is currently looking forward to using a data collection device created by Vernier, purchased with a grant from both NASA Endeavor and the East Pennsboro Education Foundation, with the school’s Math Club for an upcoming trip to a local amusement park, Hershey Park. In this fun filled day, the students will be collecting data from various rides to generate graphs and answer questions related to math, physics, and statistics.
Mrs. Waldman continues to seek new and interesting ways to integrate subject areas across STEM and make math meaningful and exciting for students. She remains involved as a NASA Endeavor Graduate, serving as a mentor to math teachers and to fellows seeking National Board Certification.