Function Zoo - Basic Function Families

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SWBAT graph a variety of functions using technology, organize the functions into families, and identify some basic functions by name.

Big Idea

Students use their animal kingdom knowledge and organizational skills to make sense of the many types of functions we will see in this course.

Introduction: Meat-a-Morphis

8 minutes

Narrative: To introduce today’s lesson and get my students attention I will be showing them the Meat-a-Morphis video which gives them a hilarious (albeit it a bit sad for some!) take on functions and the old concept of the function machine. (Note: video is also linked in flipchart)


I know this video is designed for an Algebra 1 class, but I figured we can afford 7 minutes of fun to review these basic concept of a function and it leads us into our discussion of domain and range. During this time, I expect students just to sit back, relax, and listen. While they are watching, I am going to go around and do a quick check of homework. I will not be grading for accuracy (that’s the goal of the homework quiz…for more information on how I run these check out this video: Homework Quiz) but will just be looking for completion.



3 minutes

Preparation: When copying the student dictionaries, I would recommend rotating every even page 180 degrees in the printout so that the dictionary is copied such that when the second page (C and D) is open the letters will appear at the top of the back side of that page. Also, for the next section of the lesson students will need to be grouped in teams and each team will need a piece of large butcher paper to sketch some graphs on.

Narrative: Next, I will present pages 3 and 4 of the flipchart and be sure that students caught these definitions in the video.  I will ask students to write the definition of these words in their Personal Dictionaries that I gave them today IN THEIR OWN WORDS. I seems to be like a waste of class time to just see students copying my definitions, so I will encourage them to summarize this in a way that makes sense to them: “Can they draw a picture? How would they explain it to their little sister in Algebra?”  I would like for students to organize their binders so that they have two sections for math. One of these sections will be dedicated to notes and references, so this dictionary should go there. Students will be expected to keep these dictionaries and use them as a reference for the rest of the school year. I will often refer back to these as their personal dictionaries and will always have students add new vocabulary to these. The other section should be works in progress: current classwork and homework. And this one should be cleaned out regularly.

Closure: Where are we going with this?

4 minutes

Depending on how your students progressed with this activity, you may want to go over some non-examples of functions (page 11 in flipchart). I am planning on taking the time to do this if a majority of my students seem to be coming up with non-function examples as a whole class. Otherwise, I will just address the issue at the team level while students are working.

To close out today’s learning. Give students a minute or so to discuss in their teams where they think we are going with this. Then present page 12 of the flipchart to give students a preview of the plan for this semester. As a class, discuss the two questions posed on the last page of the flipchart. What connections do these graphs have? I wasn’t intending on students finding a connection between the two families, but just between the graphs of each group of families. This is a little teaser as to what we will be doing tomorrow… shifting functions.


1 minutes

Assign homework 1 for this unit. I will also be reminding my students about their first Homework Quiz coming up on Monday!