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Transforming functions with GeoGebra

This can be done with any type of function, but for this post I’ve chosen a cubic function. 

The following activity is intended for students to do on the computer after modeling a few possibilities with the whole class.

Students are given a cubic function f, and asked to find four transformations of f that go through a given point.  This is a great activity to help students practice using function notation to describe a transformation, and the use of technology provides them with immediate feedback. 

Would you use this activity in your class?

Coordinate Fun

Part I of this activity is called Crown Transformations,which I have tried many times in my Geometry classes.  It is always a big hit.  I usually have students fold a colored sheet of computer paper into eighths, and show the work on the paper.  You can use this graphic organizer if preferred.  We use colors to graph the different transformations of the crowns, which helps me assess understanding both during and after the activity.  My finished product is below, and I will project this and call on students at random to tell what type of transformation was performed on the original crown (in red) to get to on of the other crowns.  This activity will take about one 45-50 minute class period.

Crown Transformations

Parts II and III of this activity are new, and I haven’t tried this yet with students.  Follow the directions in the worksheet to learn how to transform points using GeoGebra, then turn on the trace function for each point and create diagrams like the ones below.  Depending on student familiarity with GeoGebra, this activity with the final product should be doable during a 90 minute class period.  I would ask for students to upload their diagram to Edmodo so that I could use the diagrams at a later time for review.  Plus I like to fill my walls with student art so I’d want access to files at home to print from my color printer.

Rotations            Reflections


Unfamiliar with GeoGebra?  Check back later to see a screencast of how to do Parts II and III using this amazing, free program.




Things I Don’t Want to Forget

Ever go to a workshop and learn amazing things that you want to implement right away?  If you are like me you will find yourself reading back through your notes two weeks later (hopefully), only to realize that you already forgot about some high quality techniques.

For the 2013-2014 school year I am on special assignment working as an instructional coach, and I have the opportunity to attend many workshops and conferences.  This section of my blog will be dedicated to the things that I just don’t want to forget.  And if I can’t remember strategies two weeks later, how will I ever remember them when I go back to the classroom?  So while this particular post/section is mostly a journal to my future self, I hope you will find some useful info as well.

For this first post I would like to write about some strategies given by Alex Kajitani, former California teacher of the year, aka the Rappin’ Mathematician.  I had the chance to spend a day with Alex at the Contra Costa County Office of Education, where he led a workshop on mathematical discourse.  He offered about ten solid strategies to help students along with discourse in the math class, but the one that really stands out to me as I reread my notes is about the “Think-Pair-Share” strategy.  Did you know that this strategy is only effective if there is an accountability piece built in?  This research backed statement isn’t something that I had ever heard or thought about, and I’ve been using “Think-Pair-Share” for years!  Alex offered some modifications on this strategy, including “Think-Write-Pair-Share” as well as asking students to be prepared to share a partner’s answer.

Another great strategy that Alex shared is to take the sentences of a word problem and write them on sentence strips.  Then hand out strips to partners and ask them to put in order.  This might be a sneaky way to add in clozed reading, and it provides access to all students and allows for students to work at their own pace while organizing the sentence strips.  We did this in our group of 40 teachers, and by the end Alex noticed that we had all reread the parts of the word problem numerous times to check our work, and those of us that were advanced had already moved on to solving the problem.  Definitely want to try this strategy in the future.

Using Socrative for Warm-Ups

I am going to begin this blog (first blog post ever!) by linking to a post from a new found favorite blogger (Mathy Cathy).

Mathy Cathy’s blogpost “How Socrative Changed My Warmups

In her post she writes about the need for accountability in warmups, and she tells how Socrative meets this need.  Plus her template for warm-ups allows for reflection on problem solving AND it can be used as a student study tool for the Friday Warm-up Quiz.  Thanks for sharing Cathy!