Bike Tyre: A Maths Modelling Activity – TES Maths ROTW 95

The following resource has been kindly shared on the TES Maths website. It is available to download for free by registering. And to access all the lovely Resource of the Week (ROTW) resources, just click here

What is it?
A rich, challenging and incredibly engaging modelling activity involving bicycle wheels and graphs of trigonometric functions! Yes, if you are looking at a way of adding a bit of spice and relevance to the graphs of trigonometric functions and their subsequent transformations, then this is the activity for you. It starts with students being challenged to sketch the location of some Tipex on a bike tyre as the bike moves. But before long the students are considering the effect on the graph of different locations of the Tipex, and even a bit of skidding!

How can it be used?
I will be honest – you need the right kind of class to take on something like this. And I am not necessarily talking about high-ability only. I mean a class that is willing to take on challenges, ask questions, make mistakes, and not give up. If you have that kind of class, whether they be in Years 10, 11, 12 or 13, then I would seriously recommend trying this activity. The quality of the discussions that can be generated are immense. Moreover, it puts a practical, relevant spin on what can be a tricky and abstract topic. I would also recommend using Desmos alongside this activity, so students can experiment with different types of graphs, hypothesising and observing the effect that changes have on each of them. A stunning activity.

Thanks for sharing!

Craig Barton


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