Education Technology

Precalculus: Extreme Punkin' Chunkin'
by Texas Instruments

Updated on February 16, 2015


Students explore extrema, zeros, and other key values of quadratic functions in real-world contexts.

Key Steps

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    An equation is given to describe the motion of a pumpkin launched from a trebuchet. Students are instructed to graph the function. This graph is used to answer questions involving maximum height, horizontal distance, and the ability of the pumpkin to clear a fence.

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    Students will be using the Calculate menu to find the zeros, minimum, and maximum values for the various quadratics in this activity.

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    In addition to the Punkin Chunkin’ problems, students explore other problems involving the drop of a hay bale from a helicopter to feed animals in Yellowstone, profit maximization for an espresso stand, and cost minimization for a company producing kayaks.


    In each of these problems, students will use the same method as Problem 1 to find the values of interest. Teacher discussion can include how to find these values algebraically.