Fitting Periodic Functions Presentations

It’s been a while since we did presentations in Precalculus, so I figured it was time for a mini-project again. Learning from my past, I quickly doctored up an example presentation, mostly as a guide to how the format their presentations should take.

The students got really into the presentations. They had a bunch of ideas as to what “periodic” meant and they explored a lot of possibilities before deciding on one to study. I think the good thing about this project was my requirements were so open-ended that they were able to find one that interested them.

Here are some examples of presentations (with the names removed).

In this next one, the students actually got a jump-rope & meter-stick and measured where the jump-rope was as if they were jumping rope.

In this last example, the students really wanted to do something with square-dancing, but couldn’t find any videos of square-dancing that they could measure. So the first part of their presentation was slides showing where people (represented by circles and squares) would be.  Then their function is pretty nifty (they ended up fixing the “undefined” parts of their table, which was a great talking point in the class).

In the past I had the students come up with questions to ask their classmates. This time I honestly forgot about that aspect if I had to redo it, I’d ask them to include that in their presentations. Instead, I decided to pose questions to the class based on the presentations (which intimated the presenters a little, until they realized that they didn’t need to answer the question: they were supposed to help their classmates solve the questions). It wasn’t too difficult to ask a question of the students that really required that they understand what the graphs and equations represent.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Fitting Periodic Functions Presentations

  1. Great tasks here. I did something similar – but less elaborate, no student presentation piece – with my precalc honors class earlier in the year. I gave them average daily temps from my old hometown of Gainesville, FL and in small groups they came up with curves. You can see what they did here https://www.desmos.com/calculator/nvinc8pwdh

    Thanks for sharing

    • Nice! Yeah, them having to find the data certainly took a good bit of time (class time cause I didn’t trust them to do that part on their own too much). On the flip side, that allowed for all kinds of great discussions when they asked questions like “how much data over a period?” and “how many periods should I record the data?” (They didn’t use that vocabulary, but that gives you the idea.)

      Thanks for sharing!

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