Monday, 7 October 2013

Calculus Activity: Determining Instantaneous Speed of Usain Bolt as He Crossed the Finish Line

In order to bring Calculus to life for my students, our AP Calculus team are implementing different labs to get students to apply the actual concepts they learned to  real life situations. One such example was to find the instantaneous speed of Usain Bolt as he crossed the finish line when he beat the world record in Berlin (2009). We had provided students with the video of the race and they were allowed to use other online resources. Below is the instruction of the assignment, quick footage of students working on the lab and a sample of one group’s work that was submitted. 

Assignment Instructions
1. Work in pairs. 
2. Download the video file.
3. Goal is to look at the video in iMovie, using frames, to calculate the instantaneous speed of Usain Bolt as he crosses the finish line by using more and more refined, successive values of delta distance and delta time, with minimum 5 iterations. (eg. 100m, 10m, 5m, 2m, smallest possible)
4. Write up like a lab report, answering following questions.
    a) Objective
    b) Plan of action
    c) Process and Calculations
    d) Conclusion and validity of result
Include screenshot of pictures to help explain your process.

Footage of Students Working on the Assignment

Sample of Student Work

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