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DEFEATING "MANHOLE MONSTERS" BY SIMILARITY
Grades 9 - 12

Overview

In this lesson and its extension opportunities, students should learn the effect of scaling on perimeter, area, and volume. They will discover that if a figure is scaled by a factor of s then the perimeter of the scaled figure is s times the original perimeter, the area is s^2 times the original area, and the volume is s^3 times the original volume.

They will make predictions of the effect of scaling on the volume of "grow-able" figures after measuring original and increased lengths of those figures. They will check their predictions against the actual volume as read from a graduated cylinder.

They should learn that though scaling can be done in theory, it cannot always be done in reality ñ sometimes bigger is not better as in the case of the manhole monsters. They will construct their own manhole monsters to illustrate this concept.
ITV Series
"Project Mathematics: "Similarity" (#3)"
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Materials
per group of two students

Pre-Viewing Activities
The day before the lesson, pairs of students should be given a grow-able figurine and asked to name it, to measure the length of their figurine with a tape measure, and to find the volume of their figurine by submersing it in a graduated cylinder half filled with water. Measurements should be recorded for later use. The figurines should remain submerged and will continue "growing" overnight.

Before viewing the video, the students should measure the lengths of their enlarged figurines. They should then predict the increased volumes of their figurines based on the original length and volume as compared to the new length.
Focus Viewing
The focus for viewing is a specific responsibility or task(s) students are responsible for during or after watching the video to focus and engage students' attention. As the students watch this video, it will be their responsibility to watch the growth of length and to predict how that will affect the growth of perimeter, area, and volume.

Viewing Activities
BEGIN the video at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge model and continue through the Manhole Monsters clip. STOP the video after the narrator says , "We will see how mathematics defeats these monsters.'' FAST FORWARD to section 6 (perimeter) and RESUME the video.

PAUSE the video after the narrator says, "If the scaling factor is s then the perimeter of the triangle will be..." Have students finish the sentence. RESUME the video so that students can hear the narrator finish the sentence. PAUSE the video and ask students what the perimeter of the scaled triangle would be if the original had sides of length a, b, and c. Ask them to express this in two ways. (The answers should be say + sb+ say and s(a+b+c).) RESUME the video so that students can check their answers. PAUSE the video immediately after this and ask students to give the perimeter of a triangle that is the result of increasing a triangle of sides 5, 7, and 10 by a scale factor of 3.

START the video at section 7 ( area) and pause after the narrator asks, "If the rectangle is stretched vertically and horizontally by a scale factor of s then the area is stretched by?" Have students finish the sentence. RESUME the video so that students can hear the narrator finish the sentence. STOP the video after the narrator states, "Triangular area increases by a scale factor of s^2." Ask students to find the area of a triangle that is the result of scaling a triangle of base 5 and height 8 by a scale factor of 10.

RESUME the video and show into section 8 (volume) until the narrator says, "The cube is scaled by a factor of 2." STOP the video here and ask students, "What do you think the effect of a scale factor of 2 will have on the volume of the cube?" Give the pairs of students unit cubes and ask them to record the length of a side, the surface area, and the volume of a unit cube. Ask them to then scale their cube by a factor of 2, and record the same data for the larger cube. Ask them to compare the data from the two cubes and to write those comparisons in sentence form. START the video and have them check their comparisons. PAUSE right after the narrator states the results, and ask students to generalize the effect of a scale factor of s on length, area, and volume. RESUME the video so that students can check their answers. STOP the video.

START the video and view through the end of Applications to Biology. Ask students to write an answer to this question: "Why is it impossible for a Manhole Monster to exist?" Have students read their answers. (This part of video may have to be repeated.)
Post-Viewing Activities
1. Student pairs will now calculate the actual volume of their enlarged figurines by using their graduated cylinders. They will submerge their enlarged figurines in a half-filled graduated cylinder and calculate the displacement of water. This displacement will give them the volume of their enlarged figurine. They will compare this volume to that which they predicted before viewing the video, and that which was calculated based on what they learned in the video. They will be asked to explain the differences between these values. They will also be asked to state the incorrect assumption that they made when predicting the volume of their enlarged figurine ñ namely, that if the length increases by a factor of k, then the volume will also increase by a factor of k.

2. Student pairs will create their own manhole monster out of play dough or clay that can be supported on four 1/8 inch dowel legs. Next, they will double the linear dimensions of their monster, (length, width, and height), and its dowel legs. They will need four 1/4 inch dowel legs since diameter is a linear measure and it too has doubled. They should find that the volume of their enlarged monster is such that it weighs too much to be supported by its new legs. This is because the area of the cross-section of the legs has increased four-fold, but the volume of the monster has increased eight-fold, thus causing too much pressure on the legs.
Action Plan
Have someone who is a model-railroad enthusiast speak to the class about scale models. Have a cartographer visit the class and explain the significance of scale to map-making. Have someone who builds models in order to manufacture larger products explain the significance of models to manufacturing.
Extensions
Science, and Technology: Have the students build model bridges and test for strength. Give prizes to those whose are strongest, and most efficiently built.

Art: Students can re-construct a famous painting by taking squares of a reduced copy and enlarging those squares. The end product will not be known to the students until they have each contributed their enlarged pieces of the puzzle.

MASTER TEACHERS: Elizabeth Marquez and Joyce Dul-Jacunski


NOTE TO TEACHER

The students should have prior knowledge of similar figures having the same shape, scaling factors, area, perimeter, volume, the distributive law, and simple powers.
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