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ERIC Number: EJ962500
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0819-4564
A Classroom Investigation into the Catenary
Staples, Ed
Australian Senior Mathematics Journal, v25 n2 p43-54 2011
The quest to find the equation of a catenary makes an ideal investigation for upper secondary students. In the modelling exercise that follows, no knowledge of calculus is required to gain a fairly good understanding of the nature of the curve. This investigation is best described as a scientific investigation--a "hands on" experience that examines some of the techniques used by science to find models of natural phenomena. The investigation described in this article is underpinned by the fact that the catenary's equation can be thought of as a real valued polynomial consisting of an infinite number of even-powered terms. In the process of this investigation, students should see relevance from their normal lesson work through the use of a number of ideas such as oddness and evenness of functions, simultaneous equations, function modelling, lines of best fit, and many other concepts. (Contains 4 tables and 6 figures.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia