The learning of linear functions is pervasive in most algebra classrooms. Linear functions are vital in laying the foundation for understanding the concept of modeling. This unit gives students the opportunity to make use of linear models in order to make predictions based on real-world data, and see how engineers address incredible and important design challenges through the use of linear modeling. Student groups act as engineering teams by conducting experiments to collect data and model the relationship between the wall thickness of the latex tubes and their corresponding strength under pressure (to the point of explosion). Students learn to graph variables with linear relationships and use collected data from their designed experiment to make important decisions regarding the feasibility of hydraulic systems in hybrid vehicles and the necessary tube size to make it viable.
The goal of this activity is for students to develop visual literacy. They learn how images are manipulated for a powerful effect and how a photograph can make the invisible (pollutants that form acid rain) visible (through the damage they cause). The specific objective is to write captions for photographs.