Transforming Parabolas - The Angry Birds Project

Angry Birds Parabola Project

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There are many different versions of the Angry Birds Parabola Project. We have tested them all. Some are fun for the students to do but require way more time on art related activities than the actual math. Some are fully created by hand using actual catapults and sling shots made by the class. Some are done using 100% technology like the Geogebra version.
My personal favorite is a mix of all these methods. Here is a list of the best methods we have found to do a version on the Angry Birds  Parabola Project…

Do not have them make catapults for the Angry Birds Parabola Project.

This will take entirely too much time on things unrelated to the standards you are supposed to be teaching. If this is the version of the project you want to do then partner with a shop class or art class where creating the catapult will meet a standard for that teacher. Then use the catapult in your class to create the parabolas. (Hint: You will want to take slow motion video of the bird flying from the catapult so you can project the curve onto paper or poster board.)

Have the students use poster board not paper for the creation of their angry bird course.

Again, have them design the map for their level in art class. Partner with an art teacher. Then when they are complete have them create the flight pattern (parabola) on the map they created in your class.

Remember the important things for your class are…

  1. Creating the Parabola
  2. Using the math technology
  3. Finding all of the following
    • Axis of Symmetry
    • Maximum
    • Height of Parabola
    • X intercept (where bird would hit the ground if it hit nothing on the way) and Y intercept (height of catapult)
    • Contact point of Bird
    • Quadratic Equation & h,k form for vertex

Make the layout of the coordinate plane fit their parabola (flight pattern) you do not want them using awful numbers.

This will slow them down and make the answers to the above hard to grade due to the inconsistent estimates. Make them check with you before they finalize putting it on the coordinate plane. Have them make the entire map and then color it. When they are don’t have them use a yard stick to make a line go vertically through the Parabolas Maximum Value. Then have them make another line go horizontally through the same Maximum Value. Then base all other grid lines of the coordinate plane off these two lines.

Here is a Sample Angry Birds Parabola Project

Angry Birds Parabola Project Map  

The way I do it…

I use an actual screencast of the game being played. We project it onto the coordinate plane using Geogebra. Then they analyze the data. After that, they work in groups of two and create their own each from a different level after watching me do one. I realize this requires the technology. It gives me the least amount of class time on the project and the best mastery of the content.
If you use Google Classroom you can project and share everyone’s projects very quickly without printing a thing! When someone has a question you can pull up their project for the whole class to see and teach everyone at the same time. Remember if one person has a question 99% of them have the same question!

Here is the Rubric I use for the Angry Birds Parabola Project:

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