From: Sarah, a teacher

I am a sixth grade teacher in Minnesota. I want to have my students explore mini golf and calculate the reflections and angles so that they can figure out how to hit a hole in one. I know that my daughter had various problems like this in eighth grade geometry, but I can't seem to find any internet activities of the appropriate level.

I hope to eventually have my students work in small groups and build an actual mini golf course which can be set up in the hallways of the school and played in some sort of contest. My idea is that each group will design a green so that it will be possible, though difficult to make a hole in one. They would submit the design, along with their mathematical solution, and would then build it.

If you can steer me towards any resources, I'd be most grateful. I am making a powerpoint presentation and would love images, either simple drawings like those found in textbooks, or photos of actual mini golf courses. I would also love materials I could use to develop lessons.

I appreciate any help you can give me.


Hi Sarah,

I think your golf course idea is excellent.  It is a fun way for students to learn about angles and reflections.

I did some searching on www.google.ca to try and find some resources.  I found the following links that may be helpful to you.

http://clerccenter.gallaudet.edu/products/perspectives/nov-dec98/hole.html
This refers to an article from The Mathematics Teacher that shares a similar idea to yours.

http://www.opi.state.mt.us/msta/best/Minigolf.pdf
This is a mini golf geometry lesson

http://www.andrews.edu/~calkins/math/webtexts/geom04.htm
Mirror, Mirror: Reflections and Congruencies

http://www.csiro.au/scope/activities/e29c02activity.htm
Mini golf activity

http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/amusement/reflection.html
Laws of Reflection

I also searched Google Images (http://images.google.ca) for “mini golf holes” and found a variety of pictures of real mini golf holes.  These may be of use to you or you can try different search words.

Probably the most important element the students will need to understand (though not necessarily the terminology) is that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.  This is how we are able to guess at where the ball is going to end up if it bounces off a wall, by estimating the angles.  Hopefully the websites mentioned above will have some helpful ideas.

Hopefully the websites are relevant and useful to you.

Natasha