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Maths - Resource of the week

Googling gradients

For many pupils, to whom maths does not come naturally, real-life applications can make the difference between an effective or poor learning experience. TES maths specialist Craig Barton invites Douglas Butler, creator of Autograph, to explain how the program and Google Earth can be used to explore gradients in real-life scenarios.

What is it?

A video displaying how gradients can be examined in Google Earth.

By adding paths to Melbourne Airport's runway, Butler displays its elevation profile, giving pupils the opportunity to analyse the gradient of a landing plane. Is it too steep? Is it safe? Is it dangerous for landing or take-off? Once discussing the maths, pupils can take a visual tour of their gradient, experiencing it in action.

For a contrasting example, Butler selects a bike ride through the hilly terrain of Bolton, encouraging discussion of artificial gradients. He then transposes this information into Autograph to graphically express the Google gradients so that pupils can compare the two.

What else?

Turn gradients into art with Tristanjones' painting task. Help pupils to grasp gradients with jmillsdadson's introduction. Solve a murder mystery with whieldon's straight line equations activity.

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