Education Technology

Stepping to the Greatest Integer: The Greatest Integer Function

Published on 07/02/2009

Activity Overview

In this activity, students' will use a motion detector to collect position data showing evenly-spaced jumps in value. They will then model this data using the greatest integer function.

Before the Activity

  • Connect the motion detector to the DIG/SONIC port of the CBL 2™ or the 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 209 - 215 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to your class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Line up six students, uniformly-spaced, in front of the motion detector
  • Once the detector is activated make the students step aside in evenly spaced time intervals
  • Examine the distance versus time graph displayed on the calculator
  • Model the function with an equation
  • Compare the graph with graph of the greatest integer function
  • Estimate the magnitude of the vertical spacing between steps and the typical length in time of the steps
  • After the Activity

    Students will fill in the Data Collection and Analysis Sheet and answer question listed in it.

    Review student results

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