What's Your Function?

16 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT demonstrate understanding of domain, range and function notation. SWBAT create a function that models a relationship in context.

Big Idea

Students create their own functions to model a situation relevant to their lives in this paired collaborative performance task!

Entry Ticket

15 minutes

Today's Entry Ticket is a brainstorming activity.  I ask students to identify three different real world scenarios that can be modeled by functions. The goal is to motivate student thinking for the collaborative project that they will work on during today's lesson. 

I will have students work in the same pairs during the entry ticket that they will work on for the project to minimize shifts and off-task time. After a few minutes, I will ask each pair of students to share at least one scenario that they think can be modeled with a function. I will give the chance for the class to provide feedback.

  • Do you agree that this context can be modeled with a function?
  • Do you have any constructive ideas about how?

By having pairs share,  students are explaining their ideas in class, but they have some time and support to prepare what they might say. 

Project Overview: What's Your Function

15 minutes

In this section I lay out the expectations and grading components for the What's Your Function? Project. I will hand out a copy of What's Your Function Performance Task and Rubric to each student. Students will have a few minutes to silently read the assignment before we discuss it. As I hand out the project plan, I make it clear to students that the Entry Ticket was a good warm up for their work today. 

I plan to share my intent for the project as well as specifying the component tasks that students will complete. I am especially interested in reviewing how well students do with CCSS Mathematical Practices 3 and 4 on this project. Students have time to create arguments and critique the perspective of their peers in a setting that encourages students to make connections of how functions can be used to model situations and better understand real-world phenomena.

Before launching the project I also review some logistics:

  • Materials and where they are in the classroom
  • Expectations for behavior during group work

At the end, there is some time for questions before students dive into working on the project! 

Productive Work Time: What's Your Function Performance Task

50 minutes

The remainder of the class time is spent working on the projects. As students work in pairs, I rotating among them. At the beginning my goal is to be sure every group has made a decision about the scenario they are going to model. I think of myself as a manager, providing various levels of executive support depending on the needs of each pair. I will regularly check-in with each pair to ask what each person is working on. This maintains the expectation that everyone should be working, it promotes division of tasks, and it fosters interpersonal skills that are valued in the workplace. If students are not clear about what their current task is, I will make suggestions. 

The desired end product for today's project is a well written narrative with effective visual elements.  I encourage students to utilize their artistic and writing talents, as well as their knowledge of mathematics.  I let students know that at the end of the project, I will display all of the projects in the classroom. I often find that this expectation motivates students because it sets an expectation that I (and others) will evaluate their work. 

A Note about Technology with this Project: There are a number of different ways that technology can be used with this project. Laptops, tablets, or ipads are relatively common in my school so my students will want to use them. My students might create videos using a site like Educreations to present their function. Or, they might use iPads to take pictures of the work to embed in a presentation. As a general rule, I try to offer students flexibility with respect to the tools that they use on a project. I believe that this is the best way to enable students to demonstrate their skills with using mathematics. 

Recap and Homework

10 minutes

To conclude today's work lesson, I will spend a few minutes recapping the intent of the project. As I do so, I will remind the students of where they can find my expectations in the rubric. 

For homework, each pair of students needs to complete the project outside of class. As an Exit Ticket, I have each pair of students write me a note about their plan for completing the project by the next class. In order to prepare them for this task, I will have spent part of the work time helping students to break down the steps needed to complete the project and begin making a plan. 

Next class, as students turn in their projects, I take the time to display all of the presentations and wonderful work that students have created. I also try to invite school administrators and other teachers to see the work and, again, start the year on a positive note of high expectations, challenge with just the right balance of support.