This post provides differentiated lessons for gifted and talented high school students (and potentially highly-advanced middle school students) using a real-world scenario–a basketball stunt shot by the Harlem Globetrotters–to explore physics and math.
You may have already watched the viral video of a Harlem Globetrotter’s awesome basketball shot from an airplane. According to their official website, this was a first in their 92-year history.
This video was so amazing and intriguing, I suddenly found myself timing the shot, taking scale measurements and screenshots, and jotting down my own calculations to calculate the distance and time you need to know to make this shot successfully. Discovering an article at Wired.com by Rhett Allain–“Watch a Harlem Globetrotter Sink a Shot From A Plane“–led me to design this lesson for my students. After analyzing the video, making some measurements, and doing some calculations, students in math and physics courses explore the question of whether this shot was a result of luck, training or science.
As a STEM Academic Coordinator for Duke TIP’s residential and online eStudies programs, I train our instructors to use Bloom’s high-level objectives in lessons, incorporate higher-order thinking skills, and practice Socratic questioning techniques. All of these strategies, featured in this lesson, help our students explore and evaluate complex ideas, analyze concepts, draw conclusions, discover alternative viewpoints, and find other ways to challenge and nurture their curiosity.
How do you use real-world scenarios to teach math or science? Share with us below!
- Time: 140 minutes
- Supplies: teacher access to projector with sound for showing a short video; student access to computer or tablets in class (one per student pair); stopwatch (for students without a smartphone with stopwatch application); picture files of figures (found in lesson plan); ruler
- Duke TIP Math Physics Harlem Globetrotter Lesson Plan
- Duke TIP Math Observation Recording Sheet (handout)