Math = Love: Hit the Target Lab

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hit the Target Lab

My physical science students really enjoyed this "Hit the Target" Lab.  It's my first time teaching physical science, and I'm learning so much every day.  When I typed up this mini-lab sheet, I thought we would be able to calculate the error and percent error.  I didn't think through this very well because my students started having trouble when they went to figure their percent error.  Oops.  I LOVE this lab.  But, it needs some major editing for next year to make it more effective.

Here's what we glued in our interactive notebooks:

This gave me a chance to debut my new accuracy and precision posters.  I've blogged about these posters here.

I printed off some targets from this website.  The file suggested having students drop a colored marker onto the target.  I modified this by laminating the targets using my trusty laminator.  Then, my students proceeded to crouch on their knees and drop a dry erase marker on the target five times.  My favorite dry erase markers to use with students are these pen style dry erase markers that are made by Universal.  If you shop around and price check with other sites (I've often found them the cheapest at Shoplet or Zerbee), you can get them for around $2.00/dozen!

When we dropped the dry erase markers, they really did leave a dot on the target.  I was a bit skeptical about this working, but it did!      

Here's a student about to drop his dry erase marker on his target.  (Full disclosure: I insisted that he pause while I took a picture!)

After students had dropped their marker on the targets five times, students had to sketch the dots on their mini targets for their notes.

Next, students had to measure how far each point was from being in the bulls eye.

This is probably the place in the lab where I messed up.  I had students measure how far the point was from being in the bulls eye.  So, if a student had three of their dots end up in the bulls eye, the distance for these points would be 0 mm.

Students had to average their five distances from the bulls eye.  From this average, they were able to calculate their precision and their error.  The problem arose when we went to calculate percent error.  The actual value we were aiming for would be 0 mm, but we couldn't divide by 0 mm without getting an undefined answer.

Should I have had my students count how many landed in the bulls eye vs how many didn't?  I didn't set up the mini-lab this way because

I love the idea behind this lab.  But, it needs a lot of work to be a more effective activity in the classroom.  Hopefully this post gives someone an idea for their classroom.  Sorry I don't have ALL the answers!  ;)

The notebook page I created for this activity can be found here.

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