In my Algebra I, we are looking at parent functions. Students said this week was quite easy, they felt they were doing 3rd grade work. But I assured them
recognizing the parent equation and making connections to the parent graphs may seem easy, but it’s a lead-in to more intense math!
We’ve done several data collections throughout the semester, mostly linear, a few quadratic and exponential. But today we took a look at rational with Painting the Bridge, which is embedded in a MARS lesson.
Students are asked to sketch the relationship x:# workers and y: # hours each works to complete the given job.
Those are a good overview of what we saw. I allowed students to ask questions about things they wondered about others’ graphs. At first glance, a couple of the graphs may look odd, but given the chance to share thwir thimking, student reasoning made perfect sense in the real world.
Though I didn’t have an actual student create this graph, I included it on the board.
I followed the suggested questioning in the MARS lesson, which led most students to some A-ha moments. What does point Q mean? Points S? Does it make more sense for the graph be solid or dotted? Why?
As a data collection to follow up this discussion, we picked up erasers. One student held a cup in their dominant hand and picked up one eraser at a time and placed it in the cup, we timed. Then another student helped. Continued adding workers and it eventually became too crowded, they were dropping erasers and slowed them down.
We compared the shape of our scatter plot and decided maybe exponential or quadrant 1 of a rational (inverse) function.
The calculator power regression resulted in
y =76x^-1. Which gave us a chance to discuss that -1 exponent. How it meant the inverse of multiplying by x, which was to divide by x. So we graphed y=76/x. Nice. They were seeing the connection to our Painting the bridge discussion.
Oh wait, how many erasers were we picking up? 78. Not bad, huh?
My goal is to give them a concrete data collection for which they can access and connect back to the math.
To end the day, they asked if they could draw a graph on the board and everyone guess the parent function name. Sure. They were on task and engaged so I was fine with it.
They began graphing the endpoints of their graphs, so their classmates were finishing the graph and naming the function. It was humorous. But again, they were engaged.
I love these kids. They were my favorites today. It’s been a tough semester at times, but I want to end these last weeks strong. I want them to leave our classroom having grown in confidence and changed their attitude toward math. That’s my goal.