Thursday, May 31, 2012

Graphing a Rollercoaster

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2012, C. Burke. All rights reserved.

Is the world upside-down or is it an inverted coaster?

I usually do the he Height vs. Time graph as a set-up, which looks like a rollercoaster, but they can't figure out why it doesn't turn around and finish where it starts like a ''real'' coaster does.


Lance Friedman said...

Cool comic.. Your graphs are much kinder than my graphs!

***I really like the (daily) reflection and (crop) rotation comics posted last month!

(x, why?) said...

Ouch! Watch out for those trips to L'Hospital!

And my students never quite understand just why I can't graph an example of a rollercoaster with a vertical drop. (I think there's one in New Jersey.)

But what they don't really understand in that the x-axis is time, not horizontal distance, and the graph I used in class may actually have had a vertical drop in it.

By the way, if you notice an uptick in a certain type of comic, then the odds are that I'm teaching or reviewing that topic a bit and it's on my mind. :-)

GregT said...

It's so true... I should show this if I teach the Grade 9 again next year.

I actually have a couple ride examples I use for height/time, including "Drop Zone", which is a ride that's all vertical drop... so of the options I give, one is totally vertical. The usual argument they make to each other is 'you don't slow down, you'd be dead'. I then point out that at that instant in time, you'd also be able to look up and see yourself at the top to warn yourself that your death is occurring.

Then there's my incorrect one with the ferris wheel. Where I point out my version is impossible unless the ferris wheel is a DeLorean or a police call box.

(x, why?) said...

I'm afraid to ask if they get the reference to either the police call box or the DeLorean.

GregT said...

Have no fear. At least a few usually do; more so the former as The Doctor's seen more popularity lately. It's my Bill & Ted reference that falls flat. (As flat as a graph of a person not moving...)

Randy A MacDonald said...

McFly Who, dude? In any case, shouldn't the first "Coaster Goes Up" segment have slope zero?

(x, why?) said...

It probably should've been zero somewhere there as it rides the chain, but it had to accelerate from zero. I guess a flat segment could have been included. Likewise, the braking probably isn't entirely accurate either.