Over the weekend I watched every game at the regional basketball tournament. Understand I know absolutely nothing about basketball other than a few things because I don't play it but my students do. While watching the games, I realized that when they shot the ball during a free throw, the pattern was that of a parabola. In addition, this parabola shape is used in other sports such as football, volleyball, shooting, etc. So I know have sports in addition to dropping supplies from a helicopter or throwing a dead body off a building or a kid jumping off the top of a house.
There was an episode of Numb3rs where Charlie was saying the kid must have been pushed off the building rather than jumping because the point where he hit the ground was off by a certain distance. My brain started firing on that.
I figured out most planets use an elliptical type orbital path around the sun. This would be cool to have students calculate the actual equation for the orbit of most of the planets. I also wonder about satellite orbits around the earth. What sort of systems do pilots use, how do they figure approach or liftoff?
Then there are stock market up and downs that could be done. Now I need to figure out where polynomials are being used in real life. I need to research that and see what I can find out. I suspect one use might be when a ball bounces, or perhaps the path of a jumping fish.
I am off to research the topic to see what other uses I can find.