Materials List: Designing an Elliptical Pool Table

Each group needs:

  • access to an assortment of building materials from which to make an elliptical pool table
  • 1 marker, to mark the ellipse foci
  • circular wooden dowels, 1-1.5 inch diameter, to serve as cue sticks to hit the balls
  • 2-4 small balls such as golf balls, pool balls or table tennis balls; golf balls are often ideal
  • access to a computer with Internet access, to do online research

To share with the entire class:

  • an assortment of building materials from which groups choose (as their hypothetical budgets permit) to make their elliptical pool tables; suggested materials for the table surface/base: wood, strong cardboard; suggested materials for the table border: wood, cardboard, rubber bands, chopsticks, (foam swimming) pool noodles or other materials requested by groups (as the teacher permits)
  • felt, enough for each group to have a piece to cover its table, which could be 1 x 2 feet minimum to 2 x 2 feet maximum
  • an assortment of tools such as scissors, markers, tape, hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • computer with Internet connection and projector to show the class an online video clip and the Ellipses Presentation, a PowerPoint® file

For the (optional) drawing exercise (see slide 5), each student needs:

  • graph paper and pencil
  • 2 push pins
  • string