Movement with Functions

These investigations use movement to reinforce the concepts of linear functions and systems of equations. Multiple representations are used throughout, along with tools such as motion detectors and remote-controlled cars. Students explore how position, speed, and varying motion are reflected in graphs, tables, and algebraic equations. This investigation uses a motion detector to help students understand graphs and equations. Students experience constant and variable rates of change and are challenged to consider graphs where no movements are possible to create them. Multiple representations are used throughout the lesson to allow students to build their fluency with in how graphs, tables, equations, and physical modeling are connected. The lesson also allows students to investigate multiple function types, including linear, exponential, quadratic, and piecewise.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Use parentheses, brackets, or braces in numerical expressions, and evaluate expressions with these symbols.
GLE 0506.3.1
Understand and use order of operations.
GLE 0806.3.2
Represent, analyze, and solve problems involving linear equations and inequalities in one and two variables.
GLE 0806.3.3
Solve systems of linear equations in two variables.
GLE 0806.3.4
Translate among verbal, tabular, graphical and algebraic representations of linear functions.
SPI 0506.3.1
Evaluate algebraic expressions involving decimals and fractions using order of operations.
SPI 0506.3.2
Use variables appropriately to represent numbers whose values are not yet known.
Use parentheses and/or brackets in numerical expressions and evaluate expressions having these symbols using the conventional order (Order of Operations).
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Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Measure distances in centimeters.
  • Record data in a table.
  • Order data and determine median and range.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Help the students to order the medians for the group and to determine the median of the medians and the range for the group. Compare individual scores to the group's median and range, emphasizing the amount of variation.
  • Display the pitching cards, the personal data, and the pitching data. Compare these data to the data on the traditional baseball cards.


Helpful Hints


  • Computer with internet access
  • Pitching Cards Activity Sheet 
  • Meter sticks
  • Unlined index cards (5 per student)
  • Crayons