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ERIC Number: EJ1209307
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Parabolic Sound Reflectors--History and Modeling
Purvinis, Elaine M.; Fagan, Joshua B.
Mathematics Teacher, v112 n5 p330-336 Mar 2019
In first- and second-year algebra classrooms, the all-too-familiar whine of "when are we ever going to use this in real life?" challenges mathematics teachers to find new, engaging ways to present mathematical concepts. The introduction of quadratic equations is typically modeled by describing the motion of a moving object with respect to time, and typical lessons include uninspiring textbook practice problems that portray dropping or shooting objects from given distances or at particular time intervals. For a novel approach to exploring quadratics, the authors chose to step outside the classroom to look at some phenomena in the field of acoustics. In this article, a historical view of the mathematical and acoustical properties of parabolas offers a lesson and lab to examine multirepresentational views of quadratics, requiring students to use their knowledge of algebra, teamwork, logical reasoning, and technology to model and verify their data.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A