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Pixar in a Box is a themed set of lessons on the Khan Academy platform, infused with very well-produced videos and web-based interactive widgets to help kids get excited about and visualize the math behind some of Disney's biggest animated features. Each lesson comes with an introductory video that explains math concepts such as using parabolic curves to model grass or using weighted averages to translate clay sculptures into 3D computer models. Learners then play around with tools based on the real tools that Pixar animators use and are given the opportunity to test their knowledge through built-in assessment.
Every page in a lesson takes advantage of the web platform and allows users to comment or discuss, which makes for some very powerful collective learning. Each lesson also comes with hands-on activities, taking a constructivist approach to learning as kids make things with paper, string, pencils, and scissors. For more advanced learners (such as high school students), lessons provide deeper insights into the mathematical formulas behind the visual concepts. Teachers could easily incorporate Pixar in a Box as a self-directed unit to be done either individually (or in pairs) or as a great supplemental homework activity.
Full Disclosure: Khan Academy and Common Sense Education share funders; however, those relationships do not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.Continue reading Show less
Key Standards Supported
Expressing Geometric Properties With Equations
Use coordinates to prove simple geometric theorems algebraically. For example, prove or disprove that a figure defined by four given points in the coordinate plane is a rectangle; prove or disprove that the point (1, √3) lies on the circle centered at the origin and containing the point (0, 2).
Prove the slope criteria for parallel and perpendicular lines and use them to solve geometric problems (e.g., find the equation of a line parallel or perpendicular to a given line that passes through a given point).
Find the point on a directed line segment between two given points that partitions the segment in a given ratio.
Use coordinates to compute perimeters of polygons and areas of triangles and rectangles, e.g., using the distance formula.
Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).
Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.
Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproducing a scale drawing at a different scale.
Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.
Describe the two-dimensional figures that result from slicing three- dimensional figures, as in plane sections of right rectangular prisms and right rectangular pyramids.
Modeling With Geometry
Use geometric shapes, their measures, and their properties to describe objects (e.g., modeling a tree trunk or a human torso as a cylinder).
Apply concepts of density based on area and volume in modeling situations (e.g., persons per square mile, BTUs per cubic foot).
Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).