The deflated ball controversy makes an interesting segue into negative number line understanding. A particular digital psi football gauge reads 0 when the ball is at a proper NFL inflation of 13 psi. Footballs inflated under 13 psi produce negative psi readings and students have to decide the range of possible inflation levels and which reading is less inflated. Students work with negative numbers, inequalities, and graph on the number line, all in this controversial context. Finally, students use proportional reasoning to determine if an air temperature difference could have accounted for the deflated footballs (the math & physics has been simplified down a bit, we went with many sources boiled the math down to, you can see all the math here). Older students can dabble in writing compound inequalities and absolute value inequalities.
Note: If you are interested in opening with a video about "Deflategate" there are plenty of articles and video news reports online. Just do a Google search. Note #2: We credit this “Cake Weighing” problem from the problem collection at The Mathematics Common Core Toolbox for the idea behind some of the elements of this activity.
The activity: Deflategate.pdf
For members we have an editable Word docx and solutions.
— Lori Barr (@LbarrBarr) January 31, 2015
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