Friday, July 8, 2016

Math and Fireworks Part 2.

Fireworks, Celebration, Bright, Pink  So yesterday, I began looking at the math involved in fireworks both in a general and specific way.  Today, I'm gong to look at more fireworks activities that could be used in the mathematics classroom. This is the type of thing I would save for just before Christmas break because most places have a fireworks show at midnight on New Year's Eve.

For an upper level math class you can have them calculate the distance from them to the display using three different equations given here.  The calculations require knowledge of the standard speed of sound and speed of light in order to calculate the distance.

For students who are working with quadratic equations how about them doing an exploratory activity from Yummy Math that has them creating their own display on a graphing calculator or app? It does not give them the answer, instead it has them work through a series of questions that help them figure out the equations they should be using.  The final product is really nice.

This science and engineering site has a lovely page of mathematics which can easily be integrated into the classroom.  it begins with the mathematics so students can estimate the size of the burst in the sky using both the site and sound of the fireworks display.  Since they need to approximate the angle from themselves to the display, the activity includes two ways of doing it.  he article also explains through the use of trig, why the formula works.  it is very well done.

Georgia state standards has a 202 page document for Algebra I.  At about page 193 is a culminating task on Acme Fireworks which requires students to determine the height of four different fireworks. For each type of fireworks the student figures out how high the rocket is when it explodes and how many seconds it has was in the air before it exploded and how long the sparkles stay in the air.  The final activity in this exercise is for students to determine the equation for a new rocket that goes a certain distance into the sky with sparkles lasting for 8 seconds.

Along the way, you might want to find information at both Pyroinnovations for how one goes around setting up a fireworks display.  It does not go into much mathematics but it does give a good overview of preparing for the show which might be used as an introduction to the material.

So now you can show students how fireworks shows use quadratic formulas.  Enjoy and have fun.