Off-Road Algebra

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“Math Matters” are a great bunch of people in the USA with a mission to employ 21st century learning tools and methodologies to help make math relevant and fun again for teachers and students.

They have generously developed a free to everyone 30-segment video and math problems resource that focuses on ninth grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra.

What makes their “Off-Road Algebra” unit different is that it revolves around the world of off-road motorcycle racing. Team HotChalk worked with a group of young HotChalk-sponsored motorcyclists, videotaping them jumping off ramps along dirt bike tracks and racing up the golden summer hills of a ranch overlooking the ocean in Central California.

Courtesy of math teachers Jason Dyer (Pueblo High School, Tuscon, AZ), who scripted out the ‘real world’ algebra problems, and John Villavicencio (Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA), who explains the step-by-step solutions in each segment, they present their homemade model of YouTube-style learning, called “Off-Road Algebra.”

Their Press Release for the Off-Road Algebra unit can be read here.

Click here for Off-Road Algebra Press Release

Let’s take a look at the Off-Road Algebra course in more detail.

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“Off-Road Algebra” is an awesome complete off road motorcycling Algebra and Data Analysis course.

The nice thing about each of the 30 units is that they are all short, sharp, self contained lessons.

Here is a short YouTube video that gives an overview of the course.

There is also a great free PDF document containing Teacher’s notes with explanations and full solutions to all 30 lessons at the following link.

Click Here for Off-Road Algebra Course Notes

The full course main page can be found at the following link.

Click here to access Off-Road Algebra Course Website

Not all of the course lessons are on Algebra. For example there are three great lessons involving Statistics; Lessons 17, 18, and 22.

Statistics Lessons from Off-Road Algebra

Lesson 17: Margin of Victory

Rider A, Rider B, and Rider C finish the race in 124.2 seconds, 128.3 seconds, and 132.1 seconds respectively. Who beat the rider just behind them by the largest margin?

Lesson 18: Lap Time Math

Rider A does a five-lap race and gets lap times of 98.7 seconds, 93.5 seconds, 91.5 seconds, 91.6 seconds, and 92.4 seconds. What’s the best lap time? What’s the average lap time? What’s the median lap time?

Lesson 22: Choosing Between Mean and Median

Because of weather conditions, a rider’s times on a track may not be as fast on one day as the next. Let’s suppose you took 5 different days of races, and wanted to compare the five days to find out when track conditions were best. Using statistics from the races, what’s the best method of comparison? What other elements might you factor into the comparison?

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It is not necessary to do the whole course with a class of students. One or two lessons could be selected as “Maths in the Real World” enrichment material, while studying a relevant Algebra or Statistics topic from the students’ regular textbook.

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