Applying Linear Equations: Calculate Your Speed in a Race Against Usain Bolt
Aligned to standards 8.EE.C.8: Analyze and solve pairs of simultaneous linear equations, 8.F.A.2: Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way, and 8.F.B.4: Use Functions to Model Relationships.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world. The Olympian broke the world record by finishing the 100-meter race in only 9.58 seconds. No average joe would dream of beating that record. But if Bolt were to give you a 20 meter head start, would you stand a chance?
We’re featuring a mini-project that invites students to apply their linear equation skills to calculate Bolt’s speed. This project is aligned to state math standards and designed to challenge your students at a level that is appropriate to them.
Here’s an overview of the activities you’ll find in the project packet:
- Students will write a letter to Usain Bolt detailing the conditions of their potential race based on their mathematical calculations. First, students will run a 100-meter dash to calculate and compare their meter per second race time with Usain’s race time.
- Students will write linear equations, graph a system of linear equations, and solve a system of linear equations both graphically and algebraically to determine key moments in their race against Usain Bolt.
- The project culminates with students writing and sending a letter to Usain Bolt that describes the race conditions necessary to beat him in a race.
The detailed project plan/packet on Goalbook includes:
Engaging hook — Students will watch Usain Bolt’s impressive 9.58-second sprint and read a letter from Bolt that challenges them to a race
Calculations template — Students will record their own run time on provided templates and calculate their speeds
Letter template to Usain— After students have completed their calculations, they will write a letter to Usain Bolt detailing their findings