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SWBAT sketch graphs showing the key features of a function.

Big Idea

Let your artists shine as they sketch graphs showing key features of functions.

Set the Stage

10 minutes

Instead of providing something written or projected on my board I begin this lesson reading out loud a verbal description  of a function and asking my students to sketch a graph of the function on individual whiteboards.  (MP2) (you could use paper instead, but I like the flexibility of whiteboards and they increase student engagement because of their relative novelty). 

Some students will probably ask for the equation for this function, but I tell them that this activity is about working from a description rather than equation.  When everyone has their sketch completed I have the whiteboards posted along the front board and ask my students to critique them. (MP3) 

I anticipate some variation since not all my students have strong listening skills, particularly when it come to mathematics. By doing the whole class posting I provide an entry opportunity for all students to participate which enriches the discussion as we reach a class consensus about the graph that best fits the verbal description.





Put It Into Action

30 minutes

Here students have the opportunity to practice sketching graphs of functions without using their calculators.  I do this to encourage deeper understanding of form and function. 

I distribute the sketching activity, ask if there are any questions, then tell my students that they have about 25 minutes to finish their work. (MP1, MP2) I have them work independently on this assignment to strengthen their skill at graphing and their understanding of key features. 

After about 25 minutes or when everyone is done, I have students compare their results with their right-shoulder partner. (MP3) There are always a few students who want me to arbitrate when they disagree.  Instead  I try to ask them questions that help them find their own solution.  For example I might suggest that they explain to each other how they made their respective graphs as a way to identify where they made different choices. 

Wrap It Up

10 minutes

I close with a class summary of what key features are again, then ask my students to write a 20-word (or less) Facebook post about what they learned in class today. (MP6)

Putting thoughts into writing reinforces students' verbal communication skills while using the familiar format of Facebook, as I discuss in my video. Asking them to write about what they learned gives them an opportunity to reflect on what we did and it gives me an opportunity to see where each of my students are with this content.