Hill Middle School Students Angle for a Mathematics Lesson
Byline: Edman, Hart & Nickerson
If Johnny wants to putt a golf ball down a dog leg angled 35 degrees to the left, at what angle should he knock the ball into the bumper on the right side of the miniature golf hole?
A couple of months ago, that question would've boggled the minds of eighth-graders at Hill Middle School in Naperville. Now they not only know the answer, they've built the golf hole.
The class studied plane geometry - symmetry, angles of incidence and bounce. Then they had to prove what they've learned by designing a hole for a miniature golf course.
"They had to show how a hole-in-one would be possible mathematically," math teacher Michelle Conte said. "There had to be at least one bounce; no straight shots were allowed."
Teams of students built golf holes small enough to fit on a kitchen table top. Teachers judged the best 18 holes and put them together in a course.
"One has a Disney theme, another has a waterfall, some students used dry ice that looks like smoke coming out of a castle," Conte said. And, of course, there were a few holes with windmills.
Using rulers, butter knives or just their fingers as golf clubs, the eighth-graders played a round of golf on the course.
It was the second time students tested their geometry skills on a miniature golf course. The class had visited a full-size mini golf course a few days earlier.
"It's great that at the end of the year, they see that math can be fun and you can use it in real life," Conte said. "When we went to the course, I heard them saying, 'Hey, this angle thing really works.' "
Here doggie, doggie
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