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Adam Poetzel, Joseph Muskin, Anne Munroe, and Craig Russell

Using simple materials, a Mathematica software application, and their knowledge of function transformations, students design and create real mathematical sculptures.

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Adam R. Poetzel, Matthew C. Hopkins, and Joseph J. Muskin

Our everyday world seems sturdy. Floors are solid, walls remained fixed. As we go about our daily lives, these solid structures appear securely stationary. But when we look at the world from a different scale—the incredibly small scale of the nanometer (one billionth of a meter)—these solid features are anything but stationary. In this activity, students conduct a mathematical experiment to determine how far they can move a solid wall when they push against it. Intended for use in any geometry or trigonometry classroom, this lesson capitalizes on students' prior knowledge of basic circle properties, right-triangle trigonometry, and unit conversions.