Ferris Wheel

This lesson unit is intended to help you assess how well students are able to:
  • Model a periodic situation, the height of a person on a Ferris wheel, using trigonometric functions.
  • Interpret the constants a, b, c in the formula in terms of the physical situation, where h is the height of the person above the ground and t is the elapsed time.
Step 1: Turn the Ferris Wheel Step 2: Study how the red graph created by the turning Ferris Wheel Step 3: Use the slider of a, b, c to find a function that best describes the relationship between the time elapsed and the height of the red car on the Ferris Wheel? Step 4: After you find the function, Click on New and do it again.
  1. What is the radius of the Ferris Wheel?
  2. How high is the person when she is in the bottom car?
  3. When t = 4, what is the height of the passenger on the red car? How do you know?
  4. How long does it take for the wheel to complete one turn? How does your graph show the rate of rotation?
  5. Which quantities vary as the Ferris Wheel turns? Which measures do not vary?
  6. What does a represent?
  7. What does b represent?
  8. What does c represent?