Education Technology

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  • Subject Area

    • Math: Middle Grades Math: Algebraic Thinking

  • Author

    Cindy Johnson

  • Level


  • Activity Time

    3 Hours

  • Device
    • TI-83 Plus Family
    • TI-84 Plus
    • TI-84 Plus Silver Edition
    • TI-Navigator™
  • Other Materials
    Teachers will need about 10 vases with different shaped and something to measure set amounts of water with. If the vases are smaller (bud vases) 10mL or 20mL at a time works well. For larger vases you would probably want to use 50mL incriments. You will also need containers for water for the students to use or a room with access to water.
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Using Vases to Help Understand What Graphs Mean

Activity Overview

Students will predict what the graph will look like for different vases as they are filled with water. Then students will use the vases of different shapes and fill them with a set amount of water before each measurement. Students then measure the height of the water in the vase (their y-intercept will be the height of the galss at the bottom of the vase). They will enter the data into L1 and L2 and then make a scatter plot.

Before the Activity

Prior to the activity, students will need background on how to enter data into lists and create a scatter plot from those lists. Students will also need some background on analyzing graphs.

During the Activity

During the activity, students will make predictions of what the graph will look like for each vase as it is filled with water. Students will then do the experiment of filling a vase with water for three of the vases. Students then pick one of their actual graphs to share using the Navigaor System. Using the screen capture feature of the Navigator System to have the whole class discuss which graph represents which of the vases.

After the Activity

After the activity, there can be whole class or small group discussions about how the actual graphs of the data differ from the student's predictions for each vase. The main goal of the activity is to help students understand that the shape of the vase does not match the graph of the height of the water.