Friday, August 7, 2015

Deriving the Quadratic Formula

Deriving the quadratic formula is probably one of the most challenging tasks an Algebra 2 student will have to complete during the year, and without a doubt, one of the most frustrating!

When the day arrives to derive the formula, I tend to make a big deal out of how difficult the day is going to be, how frustrated they will become, and how proud and excited I will be if they don't give up; how proud THEY will be if they come close to the end.  I also give out TONS of encouragement and of course lots of help.

I let students go mostly on their own, with some guided notes to help as they struggle through the class period, and I wander around helping students as they are working and discussing the task with their peers.

Each year, I continue to be amazed as they take on this difficult task, trudge through it, hurt their brains and continue on!  Each year, among and beyond the frustration, there are high fives, congratulations and proud moments of accomplishments!  

**The guided notes with entrance and exit tickets that I use with students are available to fans of my FB page "The e Elephant Loves Math" for FREE (for a limited time only), and can also be found in my TpT store.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Inverse Functions

When I taught inverse functions last year, I really wanted students to have a context to apply them to.  In the past, I just taught them the steps to write inverse functions and the concept was definitely lost on them.
So I came up with this little exploration activity to help them see how inverse functions are related to each other.  It's all based on a fictional trip to Europe where students convert money and temperatures.
You can find the activity at my TpT store by clicking on the image.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zombies and Exponential Functions

While searching for a "fun" and engaging task or activity to introduce linear vs. exponential functions, I found this blog post from Learning with Tape about a zombie outbreak!  AWESOME!  I couldn't resist trying this out in my class.  I teach a remedial class called Algebra AB, which is the first semester of Algebra 1 over the entire year.  I was leery of this activity and knew that I needed to have a very structured activity that held each student accountable for the thinking and processing involved to fully comprehend the basic main goal: to understand that a linear function will have an adding pattern, or increase/decrease at a constant rate and that an exponential function will have a multiplicative pattern and why their graphs are shaped the way that they are. So after much thought, the help of the original idea from Learning with Tape and some zombie clip art I came up with this lesson plan, that involves a fun zombie simulation, an extension activity and an exit ticket.  Students were very engaged and loved the activity!  Success!