Updated on February 16, 2015
Students explore extrema, zeros, and other key values of quadratic functions in real-world contexts.
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.
Students will be using the Calculate menu to find the zeros, minimum, and maximum values for the various quadratics in this activity.
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.