IB Math IA: Modelling a Skateboard Ramp

Mr. Flynn IB
24 Apr 202115:39

TLDRThis video tutorial demonstrates how to use GeoGebra to model skateboard ramps, offering a practical application for students working on an IB Math IA. The host guides viewers through the process of fitting straight and curved lines to a ramp's photo, using calculus to determine gradients and suggesting the use of parabolas or exponential functions for more complex ramps. The video also touches on the importance of the ramp's gradient in skateboarding and encourages creating a personalized ramp model as a potential IA aim.


  • 🛹 The video demonstrates how to use GeoGebra to model different skateboard ramps, which can be applied to any photo for curve fitting.
  • 📐 The process involves finding gradients of ramps using calculus, which is useful for analyzing the steepness of various ramp designs.
  • 📈 The video shows how to import a photo into GeoGebra, scale it accurately, and use it as a background for curve modeling.
  • 🔍 It's important to measure and scale the ramp in the photo to ensure the model's accuracy, even though the video does it quickly for demonstration.
  • 📉 The video explains how to fit a straight line to a ramp using the equation y = ax + b, adjusting parameters a and b for the best fit.
  • 📊 The script mentions adjusting the step size in GeoGebra for more precise curve fitting and the ability to animate the fitting process.
  • 📚 The presenter suggests researching ramp models, such as parabolic or exponential functions, to understand how to mathematically represent them.
  • 🔧 The video covers how to adjust the domain of a function in GeoGebra to better fit the ramp's shape and discuss the implications of different fits.
  • 🔄 The process of curve fitting can involve trying different mathematical models, such as exponential functions, to see which best fits the ramp.
  • 📈 The importance of the 'goodness of fit' is highlighted, with a mention of least square regression as a method to evaluate it, which will be discussed in a future video.
  • 🛠️ The video concludes with the idea of creating a custom skateboard ramp, emphasizing the practical application of the mathematical modeling process.

Q & A

  • What is the main topic of the video?

    -The main topic of the video is using GeoGebra to model different skateboard ramps and applying mathematical concepts such as calculus to analyze the gradients of these ramps.

  • Why might this video be useful for someone not interested in skateboarding?

    -This video can be useful for anyone interested in learning how to use GeoGebra to model objects from a photo, as the skills demonstrated can be applied to various scenarios beyond skateboarding.

  • What mathematical concept is used to find the gradients of ramps?

    -The concept of derivatives from calculus is used to find the gradients of ramps, which helps in understanding the steepness at different points of the ramp.

  • How does one begin to model a skateboard ramp in GeoGebra?

    -To begin modeling in GeoGebra, one should first import a photo of the ramp, adjust its scale to fit the workspace, and then use mathematical functions to fit the shape of the ramp.

  • What is the significance of the horizontal distance in scaling the ramp in the video?

    -The horizontal distance is used as a reference to scale the ramp correctly within GeoGebra, ensuring that the model maintains the proportions of the actual ramp.

  • Why is it important to adjust the opacity of the background image in GeoGebra?

    -Adjusting the opacity of the background image allows the user to see through it, making it easier to align mathematical models with the features of the ramp in the photo.

  • What type of mathematical function is suggested for modeling a simple straight skateboard ramp?

    -A simple linear function, such as y = ax + b, is suggested for modeling a straight skateboard ramp.

  • How can one adjust the parameters of the mathematical function to better fit the ramp?

    -One can adjust the parameters of the function by moving the sliders for the parameters in GeoGebra, which allows for fine-tuning the fit of the model to the ramp.

  • What are some of the other types of functions that could be used to model more complex ramps?

    -More complex ramps might be modeled using parabolas, exponential functions, or even equations derived from circles, depending on the shape of the ramp.

  • What is the potential aim of a project using GeoGebra to model skateboard ramps?

    -A potential aim could be to determine which ramp is suitable for a beginner skateboarder based on the gradient at different points or to design one's own skateboard ramp using mathematical modeling.

  • Why is the gradient important in the context of skateboarding ramps?

    -The gradient is important because it indicates the steepness of the ramp, which directly affects the speed and difficulty of the skateboarding experience.



🛹 Introduction to Modeling Skateboard Ramps with GeoGebra

The speaker introduces a video tutorial on using GeoGebra to model skateboard ramps from photographs. They mention the potential for using similar techniques for other applications and emphasize the value of this skill for skateboarding enthusiasts. The process begins with uploading a photo into GeoGebra, adjusting its scale to fit a specific measurement, and using the photo as a background for modeling. The speaker demonstrates how to draw a straight line to represent a ramp and adjust its parameters to fit the photo accurately, albeit quickly and with less precision than the viewer should aim for.


📐 Adjusting Line Parameters and Exploring Ramp Dynamics

This section delves into the process of fine-tuning the parameters of the straight line to match the ramp in the photograph. The speaker explains how to adjust the line's domain and range, and how to change the step size for more granularity in fitting the line. They also discuss the importance of understanding the ramp's gradient and how it affects skateboarding, mentioning the use of calculus for more complex ramp shapes. The video script suggests discussing the fit's accuracy and the mathematical concepts involved in the modeling process.


🔍 Advanced Ramp Modeling with Curves and Derivatives

The speaker moves on to model more complex ramp shapes, such as curved ramps, using different mathematical functions. They explore the idea of using a parabola to fit the curve of a ramp and discuss the process of adjusting parameters to achieve a good fit. The script mentions the possibility of using an exponential function or a circle to model the ramp and the importance of understanding the type of function that best represents the ramp's shape. The speaker also touches on the topic of creating a list of points to fit an exponential curve and the concept of goodness of fit in the context of least square regression.


🎨 Custom Ramp Creation and Gradient Analysis

In the final paragraph, the speaker discusses the creative aspect of designing custom skateboard ramps using GeoGebra. They share their personal experience of creating a ramp with various elements like exponential functions, straight lines, and a quarter circle. The focus then shifts to the practical application of finding the gradient of the modeled ramps, which is crucial for understanding the ramp's steepness and its impact on skateboarding. The speaker concludes by encouraging viewers to apply the skills learned to model any curve onto a photo, not just skateboarding ramps.



💡Skateboard Ramp

A skateboard ramp is a structure used in skateboarding for performing aerial tricks and maneuvers. In the video, the ramp is the central subject for modeling and analyzing its mathematical properties. The script discusses different types of ramps, including straight and curved ones, and how they can be mathematically modeled for an IB Math IA project.


GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematics software that combines geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics, and calculus. The video script describes using GeoGebra to model skateboard ramps by importing a photo and fitting mathematical functions to its shape, which is essential for understanding the ramp's geometry.


In the context of the video, the gradient refers to the slope or steepness of the skateboard ramp, which is crucial for determining the skateboarder's speed and trajectory. The script mentions using calculus to find the gradients of ramps, emphasizing the importance of this concept in the analysis of skateboarding dynamics.


Derivatives in calculus represent the rate at which a function changes, which in the video's context, is used to calculate the gradient of the skateboard ramp at different points. The script suggests that finding derivatives can help understand how the steepness of the ramp varies along its length.

💡Straight Line

A straight line in the video script refers to a ramp with a constant gradient. The script explains how to model a straight line mathematically using the equation 'y = ax + b' and demonstrates fitting this line to a ramp in GeoGebra, which is a fundamental concept in the video's mathematical modeling.

💡Photo Scaling

Photo scaling is the process of adjusting the size of an image while maintaining its proportions. In the script, it is mentioned as a necessary step before modeling the ramp in GeoGebra to ensure that the mathematical model corresponds accurately to the actual dimensions of the skateboard ramp.


Modeling in the video refers to the process of creating a mathematical representation of a real-world object, in this case, a skateboard ramp. The script explains how to use various mathematical functions to model different ramp shapes and discusses the importance of accuracy in this process.


A parabola is a U-shaped curve often used to model objects with a symmetrical curve. The video script explores the possibility of using a parabolic function to model a curved skateboard ramp, demonstrating the process of fitting such a curve to the ramp's shape in GeoGebra.

💡Exponential Function

An exponential function is a mathematical function where the variable appears in the exponent. The script discusses using an exponential function to model a skateboard ramp, showing how to adjust its parameters to fit the ramp's curvature in GeoGebra.

💡Least Square Regression

Least Square Regression is a statistical method used to find the line of best fit for a set of points. The video script mentions this concept as a way to evaluate the goodness of fit for the mathematical models applied to the skateboard ramp, indicating the importance of precision in the modeling process.


Skateboarding is the main theme of the video, where the physics and mathematics of skateboarding ramps are explored. The script relates mathematical concepts such as gradients and derivatives to the practical aspects of skateboarding, such as the speed and trajectory of a skateboarder on different types of ramps.


Using GeoGebra to model skateboard ramps for an IB Math IA project.

The video demonstrates how to find gradients of ramps using calculus.

Importing a photo into GeoGebra and scaling it to fit a specific measurement.

Adjusting the opacity of the photo for easier grid alignment.

Fitting a straight line to represent the ramp using the equation ax + b.

Adjusting parameters a and b to match the ramp's gradient.

Using the function's sliders to fine-tune the model's fit to the photo.

Discussing the importance of accurately measuring and scaling the ramp in the model.

The possibility of modeling more complex ramps using different mathematical functions.

Researching common ramp shapes, such as quarter circles and parabolas.

Experimenting with parabolic functions to model the ramp's curve.

Considering exponential functions as an alternative to model ramp shapes.

The process of adding points and fitting an exponential curve to them.

Discussing the concept of 'goodness of fit' and its importance in modeling.

The idea of creating a custom skateboard ramp as a project aim.

Calculating the derivative of the ramp's function to find the gradient at different points.

The practical application of understanding gradients in skateboarding for performance.

Encouraging viewers to explore different mathematical models for their own skateboard ramp IA.