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ERIC Number: EJ907296
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Looking to Mars for Mathematics Connections
Perham, Arnold E.; Perham, Faustine L.
Mathematics Teacher, v104 n5 p344-349 Dec 2010
Each year a high school math club selects an applications topic for a year-long study. This year the club members chose the study of Mars in its orbit from the perspective of Johannes Kepler's laws of orbital motion, which they applied to data available on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons Web site. Although not apparent at the time, the math club's work provided an excellent resource for a unit on Mars that proved useful in the mathematics classroom. They chose this topic for its rich mathematical connections as well as its ongoing interest to the U.S. space program, which has sent spacecraft to Mars as orbiters, landers, and rovers for more than forty years. The richness of the topic is evidenced by students' eventual ability to plot the orbits of Earth and Mars and determine Mars's orbital shape, period, average distance from the sun, and orbital speed. This investigation gives students the opportunity to make connections not only within and between algebra and geometry but also to history and science, the latter in the intriguing area of space exploration. (Contains 1 table and 4 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States