Group Projects

Preliminary group project ideas are as follows. Each is copied directly from suggested projects in Stewart’s famous Calculus textbook, which means that they’ve each been done several times before by students all over the world. They’re nice jumping-off points for more interesting projects, however. I’ll include suggestions for directions you might take after answering Stewart’s questions, to make your project a little more personal. There’s a good deal of flexibility here.

The shape of a can

  • This project has you visiting a supermarket and asks a number of questions about the shapes of actual cans there.

The calculus of rainbows

  • It’d be nice if we could predict rainbows! Presumably we could construct a simple indoor experiment that generates a rainbow (with a spray bottle and flashlight?), that we could perform measurements on to see if they agree with the theory developed in the project description.

Building a better roller coaster

  • Oh, man! The Cyclone at Coney Island is an awesome ride and it’s close by. It shouldn’t be too hard to visit the Cyclone and observe it to create a function (defined piecewise) approximating its course, so you can apply the theory developed in the project description. (And you may as well catch a ride on the Cyclone while you’re there!)

Where should a pilot start descent?

  • Too bad I can’t take you all on a field trip to Hawaii! If I could, instead of just watching movies during the flight, we could watch the screen that tells you the altitude, ground speed, outside temperature, etc…to see if the pilot is actually applying the theory developed in the project description. If anyone in the class is planning on getting on a plane in the next few weeks, record this data! If not, I think it would be nice to consult some real aviation documents that describe (in English, not in math terms) when to begin descent….and see whether these instructions reflect the theory developed in the project description. If anyone’s got a pilot’s license-or knows a pilot personally-this would be a nice time to hear from an expert!

Poster Template Note: this is not exactly a template, but an example of a real group’s real project. It wasn’t for a calculus class, though, so yours will look very different. If you open this document in Powerpoint, you’ll be able to click to edit the text, and add graphs and other images.

6 Responses to Group Projects

  1. NaiBing says:

    I think I am going to do The Calculus of Rainbows Project. I need people to join to this project if he or she interest in this one. Thanks.

  2. Ismail Akram says:

    Almost forgot to post this,
    Team: Izzy A, Andrew M, and Darren G. We talked about doing a calculus based project on a Maui Thai Roundhouse kick (Martial Arts- K1 Kickboxing). Still have to figure out the mathematics around it but the general idea for now is:
    1) Rising the leg up, shifting, and pivoting on the heel would produce a ‘curve’. y=f(x)
    2) The actual ‘impact kick’ i.e. a straight line would be the ‘derivative’ (Still working out the kinks in this little scenario). dy/dx=f'(x)

    That’s only the rough idea for the beginning, we plan on pin pointing on something very specific (how to calculate the amount of power a Kick-boxer would deliver depending on velocity, weight blah blah blah).

    We decided on this because it’s ”organic” and bizarre which makes it more fun. ^^

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