The following article describes the "Mistake at the base of the Arch" and makes a great conversation starter on the topic. I hang a chain from two fixed points in the front of my room and we take a look into the equation of the catenary.
--- On Fri, 3/18/11, Cynthia E. Chin <email@example.com> wrote:
From: Cynthia E. Chin <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [ap-calculus] catenary lesson plan? To: "AP Calculus" <email@example.com> Date: Friday, March 18, 2011, 8:17 AM
As club advisor, I am chaperoning a group of students at a conference of the National Society of Black Engineers in St. Louis next week. I just found out that our hotel is right next door to the Arch.
Knowing that my teacher instincts will kick in as soon as we are within sight of the monument, I'm wondering if anyone has an introductory high-school lesson on catenary curves that s/he would be willing to share. I have 6 pre-calc students, 1 AP Stats, and 1 Calc BC.