## Friday, January 7, 2022

### Angry Birds' Game Design Midterm Project

I dare to say this might be one of my favorite projects. It is a combination of two projects I have done before, plus Desmos, of course.

Our school started off this second school year of Covid by saying we were not going to do Midterms. Then, in October, we were told to do midterms in January. Then, at our Jan faculty meeting, we were told because so many students were absent before December break and they would have work to make up, it would be okay if we did not do midterms.  Well, I already had a lot of time and effort invested into my compromise of a Midterm Project, I did it and I am glad I did.  I told my students a little bit about it before December break to get them interested - created the hook. I also told them it would happen the first three days back to school in January. There was nothing they had to do to prepare - no studying, so do not worry about math over break.

When we were told to do midterms in October, I came up with the idea to combine two projects I have done in the past. One was an idea from Alex Overwijk shared and it was to create parabolas by rolling marbles in paint and then rolling them on a tilted surface.  This is done using the back side of wrapping paper that has the 1 inch graph on it. I did this years ago with one small class. It was messy, but fun. Then, for a few years, I did an Angry Birds project that had the students working in groups of 4 and each got some information about their own of four Angry Birds. They had to graph them in order to figure how who hit each pig and which bird went the highest and which one was in the air the longest. Students liked that one as well.

So, I thought, if I have the kids roll the marbles through paint to create the path of 4 different colored Angry Birds, then they can enter this data into Desmos and have Desmos do the regression to give us the equations, that would be pretty cool.  This is all happening in four of my College Prep Algebra 2 class.  We just finished a big quadratics unit, so we have done all the vocabulary, graphing, solving, and word problems. This would hopefully tie it all together nicely.  Then, I was wondering how I could bring the pigs into it to take it further. I thought if each group had 2 pigs to place on their graph that would be fun. I found some really cute pig stickers on Amazon. At first, I thought I would give the students the options of placing their pig stickers before or after their roll. I tried rolling a marble through the paint on the titled board and it worked. I was pretty good at it. But, I realized, it would be quite challenging to actually get the wet paint, rolled marble to go through the pig. I made the decision to have them place the pigs AFTER they painted all four paths. I decided I wanted them to place the pigs on the bird's path down. During the project and as I was seeing how the kids rolled the marbles, I decided that it did not need to be on the way down because their up part of the parabola was more perfect. Some of the marbles lost their umph and went up nicely but then came down in a straight line.

Before I could make this all happened, I knew I had to figure out how to make it work in Desmos so we had a place to collect the data and the project. Could I figure out how to have them enter all their data (5 points from each path) and then get it into Desmos for Desmos to do the regression? I am a Desmos Fellow and have attended their headquarters. I was trying to learn the coding behind Desmos, but I have not had enough time to spend with it. I played around a little bit with it, but I just couldn't do it. So, I reached out to Jennifer White, on Twitter, whom I know from Desmos and Twitter Math Camp. I sent out an SOS, explained my crazy idea, and she jumped right in.  She thought it could work and it would be visually nice to have all four colored coded tables on one slide and then connect it to the next slide that would have the regression and graphs. She did up a mock Desmos Activity Builder activity with the coding for one table.  She was amazing!  From there, I played with it, copying and pasting to get it to work for the other three tables. I tried entering some data and I could not get it to show up on the graph. I kept trying. At this point, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get it to work, and therefore, the project might not happen.  Jenn originally had the table of values containing four points. I decided I wanted the students to enter five points each, the two x-intercepts, the vertex, and 2 other points.  I asked a student in my Accelerated Algebra 2 class to help me and look at the coding. He noticed one subscript was off. I thought that was it, nope. Then, in talking it through with him, I realized when I added another data point, I didn't change the coding. I added that in and voila, it worked! Okay, we were doing it!

Day 1: The room set up:

The first rolls:

Board directions:

Rolling in a group:

After the paint rolling:

Day 2/3. We got further than I predicted on Day 1 which was good news and then, two of my four classes were to finish this up on Friday (today) but snow was predicted. Snow, travel, covid, nothing can stop us!  So, I worked with those two classes to make sure we were in a place that they could finish up on their own should we have a snow day (and we did, that is why I am able to finally type all this). My original plan for Day 2 was to enter the data into Desmos, get the equations, and do the PIG math. Then, on day 3, they would do the analysis and the reflection parts. It was easy to combine those in.  For my first two classes, I did see them all three days and we did it that way.  On day 2, we did the PIG math. I should them examples on the board and then they were off. It was quite a bit of work to get around to help everyone with these two big calculations and it did take most of the period, but they did it. Some groups ran into negatives under their square roots. They were so cute and even thought to put i in their answers. I suggested we keep it real. Their discriminant might have been -0.2 so we called it zero and went from there. I did have a group with a discriminant of -303 and I realized they entered their data wrong, so there were these situations but they all rolled with it (pun intended). Once they got their math done, they took a picture of each problem and uploaded that to Desmos (took a little bit of help with file forms and such). That is where I stopped with my first two periods in order to save the analysis and reflection for day 3, but with my other two classes, I squeezed it in and asked them to finish it for homework. It is their midterm project, so I know they will do it.

Day 3: Analysis and reflection: I asked, "Which bird went the highest and how high?" and I fixed my second question to ask, "Which bird was in the air for the longest amount of time and how long?" Then, I had them answer a reflection piece:

Tell me what you thought of this project. Elaborate on the following questions. How did it tie in with our Quadratics unit? Do you understand everything that went into the project? If not, what did you not understand? How well did your group members work together? Would you have preferred a midterm exam? What could make this project better? What was your favorite part of this project?

This is the piece I am looking forward to reading through. One student started off the project by asking how it was going to be graded. I said, "This is an example where it is more about the process than the project. If you complete the project, you will be all set." That is what they needed to hear. No studying, no preparing, no homework each night, just doing the project in class and coming up with a really cool thing at the end, even working through messy numbers. They did it and I am so proud.  I remember, I woke up early on Monday, first day back from December break, because I was excited to get to see how it would all go. After literally months of thinking about it in my head, it would finally come out on paper. I haven't had the opportunity to be that excited about something new in a while or to create something in a while. It felt good and I am so glad I did it. It was a lot of time to prepare, a lot of materials to collect and buy, a lot of out of cost expense to me, but all in all, it was worth it.  I think the kids will remember this one.

And, finally, they had to upload a picture of their final artwork into Desmos so they would have it all in one place. Nice job everyone!  Now, to enjoy the Snow day. Thanks for reading.

We aren't supposed to play favorites, but I think this one came out the best:

Angry Birds' Recording Sheet

Class google slides: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3

And, a big thank you to everyone that made this possible: Alex O, Jenn W, my friend with the wrapping paper, my mother in law, Amazon, my 3 teaching assistants, Desmos, and my students.

And, finally, some screenshots of their reflections pieces:

Thank you! (That took me 1.5 hrs to type)