I haven’t looked at enough math teacher blogs or talked to enough math teacher friends to know for sure, but I am assuming I’m weird for this one. I was doing some long term planning for my first go at Precalculus, and realizing that I get to teach about vectors was really REALLY exciting. I’m not particularly sure why. I do have some ideas that I think are pretty fun on how to hook students into the math, but I also know that they can be super practical when applied in physics or maybe other subjects.

I want to start off by revealing a slide that looks something like this.

And have them marinate in the craziness for a minute. Then explain that this can be true if we are talking about vectors, which have a magnitude and a direction, so on and so forth.

Also, I’m kind of hoping for a windy day, so that I can take my students outside and have a student throw a beach ball one direction, and have the wind act as another vector adding to the vector representing the velocity and direction of the throw. I guess if necessary it can be in the hallway with a big box fan providing the wind. Any thoughts on how to raise the rigor on these ideas so I don’t just jump into boring practice after that?

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First just tell me how that equals 13.

Check your facebook page for a hint.

Vectors, matrices, and the like belong in a precalculus class. Have a great time with them – I’ve taught them several times in precalc & they’ve gone well. You can easily go from there into equations for planes, lines in space…great stuff!