Education Technology

Graph It in Pieces: Piecewise-defined Functions

Published on 07/02/2009

Activity Overview

In this activity, students' will record motion data for a walker and describe segments of the walker's motion using linear function. They will model the motion data using a piece-wise continuous function assembled from linear functions.

Before the Activity

  • Connect the motion detector to DIG/SONIC port of the CBL 2™ or DIG/SONIC 1 port of the Vernier LabPro®
  • Connect the CBL 2 or LabPro to the calculator using the Unit-to-Unit cable
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 49 - 56 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to your class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Set up the motion detector on a table, at a height of about 1.2 m from the ground
  • Stand still for 4 seconds, walk away at a constant rate, turn and walk toward the motion detector and collect data
  • Examine the graph of distance versus time
  • Calculate the slope and write a linear equation for each section of the graph
  • Assemble the functions into one expression
  • After the Activity

    Students' will examine the data and fill in the Data Collection and Analysis Sheet. They will also answer the questions listed in it.

    Review student results

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary