Stephen ARNOLD
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The Falling Ladder

What does it feel like at the top of a ladder as the bottom starts to slide away?

If the bottom slides at a steady rate, do you also fall steadily?

If not, then when do you fall fastest?

Can you see that TWO models are actually needed? One for when the ladder is overhanging the top of the wall, and a second when it passes the top of the wall and begins to fall straight down.

Move the point D to experiment with this model.

Steve Arnold, 17/06/2006, Created with GeoGebra


This problem may also be modelled using CabriJr on the TI-83/84 series calculator. Click on the graphic below to download the file and try it yourself!

Try having students work in pairs: one generating data points using the CabriJr model and the partner entering these into lists to plot and then to help build their algebraic model!


And just wait until you try this with TI-nspire CAS!

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