Parent Functions Matching Activity

In deference to my love of card sorts, I thought I’d share one of my favorites for parent functions.

Full disclosure:  I did make this during the summer because of all the cutting.  It didn’t take me that long to make, but I don’t like making things like this during the school year.  I love this guillotine paper cutter do do lots of heavy cutting. This slider type paper cutter is cheaper, but doesn't last as long.  I have both types :)

First, I glued graphs of the parent functions onto the inside of a folder and had them laminated.  This step is totally unnecessary; I don’t know why I did it, at the time it felt necessary.

Then, I cut out all the cards.  I decided to make them on an assortment of colored cardstock.  The editable file is part of my free resource library.  If you don't have access, you can sign up for it here.

Because I felt fancy when I was making this, each category of card is a different color.

Then, the students can match the information to the different graphs.  I have my students do this as their warmup everyday until I feel like they have everything memorized.

What do you do to help your students remember the parent functions?

Function Operations Sum 'Em Activity

I have lots of Sum ‘Em activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and I wanted to share a free one with you today!  I originally created this for my Algebra 2 Honors students to practice function operations and compositions.

Instructions:

• Each of the pages should be printed on different colors of card stock.  Then, the cards should be cut apart and organized according to their symbols.  There will be six sets of cards.
• Students can be grouped in twos or fours.  Each student takes a card, and works the problem on the card.  When all of the students in the group have their answers, they add them up.
• The group will check their sum with the teacher.  If they are correct, they will get a new set of cards.  If they are not correct, they will work together to see where they went wrong.  I don’t usually tell the group which answer is wrong.  I have them figure that out themselves.  This is a great way to get your students to work together.

You can download the Function Operations and Composition Sum ‘Em Activity from my free resource library.  I hope your students enjoy it!

12 Days of Nerd Libs

My friends Mel and Gerdy have started a Saturday Linky Party called "Saturday Nerd Libs".  I think a mad libs linky is such a cute idea, so of course, I have to link up.  I'm a little late to the party this week, but better late than never, right?

Tips for Traveling with Students

You may or may not have heard, but….

I’m going to Disney World!

I was asked at the last minute to chaperone a student trip to Disney World in January.  During Interim Term this year, a group of students is participating in the Disney Youth Education Series and will be going for five days.  I’m so excited that I was asked to go!  I will be going with one other teacher and we are taking 11 students.  The kids that are going are such good kids and I know we’re going to have a great time.  Since I’ve never traveled with students, I reached out to my colleagues and online friends to give me tips.

Tips for Traveling with Students

“Take a roll of masking tape.  At night, when the students are supposed to be in their rooms for the night, put a piece of masking tape across the outside of the door, from the door to the door frame.  Do a quick late night check and another early morning check on the tape.  If they’ve opened their door at night, you’re going to know because they can’t re-tape their door from the inside.  Let them know you’re doing that.  The huge majority of them will not dare to open that door."  Utah Roots

“Every single student needs to have your cell phone number saved in their phone and you need every student’s cell phone number.  This is a good precaution just in case something happens.”  (Of course this may not be for everyone, but I think in my case we will swap phone numbers.)

“When you have a group meeting at the end of every night, get everyone in the group to describe one “rose” for the day and one “thorn”.  The rose is a highlight, and the thorn is something that didn’t go so well.  It allows members of the group to synthesize their experiences and share with the team.”  Tangstar Science

"Have little get togethers in one of your rooms (depending on how tired everyone is) so that the kids can have chaperoned/supervised relaxed and unscheduled time together.  Set a timer so that there is an unequivocal end to social hour.”  Utah Roots

“Bring some extra toiletries.  A student may forget toothpaste, feminine supplies, or something and it would be nice if you could help them out.  Also, bring a few granola bars just in case.”

“Easy dry items like granola bars are great to pack.  Make a stop to buy bottles of water.  You should have a mini fridge in your room, but you do not want to rely on hotel or resort bottled water unless you have a fat wad of cash.”  SunnyDaze

“Always tell kids that you need to leave about 10-15 minutes before you actually do.  Some students will have trouble getting up on time.  This prevents you from running late.”

I'm so excited for my trip!  Do you have any Disney travel tips?

How To Create a Kahoot!

Have you played Kahoot! yet?  My students ask to play this game every time we review.  My kids always get excited and get VERY into the game.  It’s like using clickers in class, but students can use their phones, iPads, or computers.  Students like using their own devices and I like that the game keeps them very engaged.  Students get more points for answering the questions correctly and quickly.  I usually give small prizes for the winners.

How to Create a Kahoot!

1.   Go to getkahoot.com and create an account.  They don’t email or spam you.
2.   Go to create.kahoot.it and sign in (if you aren’t already).
3.   On the main page, click the question mark to create a quiz.

4.   Give your quiz a name.

5.   Type in a question.  This is my favorite part - you can put in pictures (graphs, diagrams, etc).  I like to take a screenshot of the questions and “dump” them into the quiz.  It's so much faster than typing out the questions.  Notice that when I dropped the screenshot into the quiz, it only half appears.  That’s ok.  You can change the number of points and the time limit for each question.

6.   If you scroll down a little, you can see the place to type the answers.  Type them in.  Notice that when you type, you have the option to use some symbols?!  Yay!  For the correct answer click the “Incorrect” button to change it to “Correct”.  Click “Add Question” to continue adding questions.

7.   When you’re finished adding questions, click “Save & Continue”.

8.   Fill in the information.  I usually choose “School” as the Primary Audience and tag a few words.  Then click “Save and Continue” again.

9.   You can add a cover image here, if you’d like.  Then, click “Done”.

10.   Now, your quiz is saved.  It is available to play immediately if you wish.

1.   Go to create.kahoot.it.  Click “My Kahoots” at the top of the page.

2.   Find the quiz that you made and click “Play”.  Once the quiz loads, click “Launch”.  Your screen should look like the picture below.  You should project your screen for your class.

3.   All of your students should go to kahoot.it.  They should type in the game pin that is displayed on your computer.  They will be prompted to choose a nickname.  As they log in to the quiz, their nicknames will be displayed on your computer.  When you’re ready, click “Start now”.

4.   While your computer displays the question, the student only sees the color of the answer options.  This is the key part that keeps them engaged!

Stats are shown as the quiz progresses.  Also, if you play with the teacher side a little bit, there is all kinds of data you can download.

I created two triangle congruence quizzes to share with you.
Triangle Congruence Quiz 1
Triangle Congruence Quiz 2
If you click on "Public Kahoots" at the top of the page, you can search for pre-made Kahoots.  Nice.

Have fun!

Have you used Kahoot! in your classes?  Did you like it?  Leave a comment about it below!

Incorporating Writing in Math

I’ve been trying to incorporating more writing in my classes.  I say this every year, but now I actually have a battle plan.

My bellwork is normally just a quick skills practice from the day before or a skill that will make the lesson go smoother.  However, I’m now giving my students writing as their bellwork once or twice per week.  It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s definitely an improvement over what I had been doing.

Here are some of the writing prompts my students have had.  Notice that I frequently have to remind them to write in complete sentences :(

How do you incorporate writing into your math classes?

Bellwork borders by Mad Clips Factory

\$103,000 Speeding Ticket Lesson Reflection

One of my goals this year was to use 3 act math tasks in class this year.  My first one was “How much does a 100x100 In-n-Out cheeseburger cost?” by Robert Kapinsky.  Several weeks ago, I also tried the “Fall of Javert” by Mathalicious.  Now, I want to tell you about my experience using “How did someone get a \$103,000 speeding ticket?” by Robert Kapinsky.

We were in the middle of our unit on the introduction to functions.  I knew that I wanted to review function notation during the lesson.

As bellwork, I had my students graph the equation of several lines.  It was easy peasy for them, but I like to throw in easy stuff sometimes to keep their skills sharp.  I had put this lesson title on my student’s calendar, so there was lots of buzz about what we were going to do in class.

First, I skimmed/read the Wall Street Journal article to my students.  They interrupted me a lot to ask questions and interject their thoughts.  They were not impressed with the idea of graduated fines; it made for an interesting discussion.

When we got to the question, my students immediately knew what information they needed.  I gave my students the formula to calculate the fine.  I didn’t show them the code that the police use to calculate the ticket though.  If I did this again, I probably would.  Also, I didn’t mention rounding.  I wanted to see if they could figure that part out on their own.  I also wrote everything in function notation as I talked through the formula.

I had my students answer the following questions:
1. What was Anssi Vanjoki’s monthly income?
2. What was Anssi Vanjoki’s annual income?
3. How much would the traffic ticket be if you received the same speeding ticket and made 60,000 per year?
4. How much would the traffic ticket be if you received the same speeding ticket and made 45,000 per year?
5. Convert all of your answers above to US dollars.
6. Graph the equation you used for Anssi Vanjoki’s income and describe the graph.

These questions were easy for my students.  I knew they would be (because it was basically review), but I still really wanted to do this with my students.  My kids are 15-16 and are just learning to drive.  I knew this lesson would get them excited and really hit home with them.

As they worked on the questions above, we kind of just talked as a class.  A few of the students tried to think up what the “most severe” violation could be.  They decided that a drunk driver crashing into a semi truck hauling babies and killing them all would be the most severe.  Crazy kids.  Also, my husband used to be a police officer, so I told them a couple of stories that he had about drunk drivers.  Even though it wasn’t math related, I had their undivided attention, so I figured I’d use it as a life lesson.

The hardest part for my students was keeping the monthly and yearly income straight.  I’m not really sure why though.  I really enjoyed doing this lesson with my students.

You may also be interested in:

 Authentic Math Task Lesson Reflection

 Going Off on Tangents

 How I Teach Function Notation

 Complex Numbers and Story Time

How I Teach Function Notation

I’ve found that function notation can be a challenging topic for my Algebra 2 Honors students.  My first year, it was a constant struggle and they always looked so overwhelmed.  So the next year, I totally revamped the way that I presented it and have had much greater success.  My biggest goal is for them to realize that it’s really just a different way of writing things they already know about.

I usually start by telling my students to put their pencils down, watch, and participate.  This always gets their attention.

First, I tell them that I’m going to write an equation, but that it’s going to look strange.  I write the first equation on the board.  Then I say, “Ok, I’m going to change a few things.”  and I write the second equation on the board.

I ask the students what the changes are.  Someone always says, “You drew a heart instead of writing x.”  My only response is, “ok”.  Then, I write something like the next equations on the board.

Again, I ask about the differences between the two.  At least one student will tell me that I just drew smiley faces and I barely respond.

Next, I write something like the next two equations on the board.  They will tell me that the difference is an a instead of an x.

I continue this process with the equations below.  I don’t simplify anything at this time.  I just want them to notice that I’m simply replacing things.

Then, I tell my students that we’re changing gears for a minute.  I put this picture up on the board and ask them to silently! see if they can figure out the pattern.  I totally ripped this idea off of Druin at Stat Teacher.  It’s such a great idea (go read it, really!).

After a few minutes, I ask if anyone wants to share.  We have a discussion about what is going on and what the notation means.  Then, we talk about how it relates to the problems we did before.  I usually go back and simplify the answers from the previous problems and make sure everything is following along.

All of this takes maybe 15 minutes, but it makes such a world of difference for my students!

What do you do to teach function notation?  What works for you?