Is the Inverse a Function? Horizontal Line Test Activity

on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Last night my students learned about the Horizontal Line test during their notes video. Every year I've taught the HLT, students get confused about when to apply it and when to use the Vertical Line test instead. So I made this powerpoint in hopes of combatting the confusion! I hope you get a chance to use it. It's a great formative assessment - students give you a thumbs up or thumbs down depending on their answer!

Here's the link to the powerpoint

Compositions of Functions Relay Race

on Monday, February 24, 2014
Today was AWESOME! We just started a chapter on compositions of functions and we did a relay race today to introduce the idea of compositions, domain, range, and notation. Not only do students love the competition, but they totally got the composition concept after spending about 15 - 20 minutes on the whole process. I never once had to explain how the notation works (I find students often do g(f(x)) in the wrong order when first learning).

 I love when things come together like this!

I have the entire lesson in a powerpoint as well as a worksheet that goes with the relay race at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check it out!

Warm Up or Entrance Ticket - Exponent Properties

on Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I teach in a flipped classroom, so each day when my students arrive, it is imperative that I figure out what they understood {or misunderstood} from the lesson they watched for homework.

An activity that I've come to love and use as a warm-up or entrance ticket is called Teach and Be Taught.

How it works:

Tell students to partner up (usually with the person they're already sitting next to)
Put 2 questions, and their answers, on the board.
Tell them that if one of the partners feels very confident about this type of problem, they need to be the first "teacher" and teach it to their partner. Their explanation needs to be good enough so that by the time they’re done, their partner can do the second problem and “teach” them back.
The answers are there so they know if they are indeed doing it correctly.

Can I hear a HOORAY for students teaching students??!

Anyways, here is the powerpoint that I used for this (doing exponent properties).

Review Game - Factoring Battle Royale!

on Monday, February 3, 2014
The past few days we have been working on factoring strategies - perfect square trinomials, greatest common factor, difference of squares, and scenarios where a=1 and a >1. They've had a lot of seat work the past 4 days. Probably too much. So today we had the most epic battle for review! (Or at least, that's how I posed it to the class!)

Also, I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun and laughed so much in a class :)

How the Battle works:
After a few warm up problems, I told students to get ready for the ultimate face-off! At their table of 4, they could choose one of two options.

(1) They could have one side of the table vs. the other side of the table. (If they chose this way, I reminded them after each face-off to pass of the power of the whiteboard and marker if one person was doing the majority of the writing)

(2) They could put the whiteboards up between partners (mine are double sided) and have it be every man for himself!

We have done a few "face-off" style activities before, and my students are used to yelling "DONE!" when they are done! It's fun for them to see how quickly they can get an answer, and it's a way for their competition to know they've been beat. However, I did not tell them how to score, or if that they needed to keep score. This is where high school students are the best - they'll come up with creative ways to score if they want to, or they won't keep score at all if it really doesn't matter to them!

LOVE seeing the two colors of markers in this problem!
(If you're wondering... it was PJ day at school!)
For each question I put up I was able to walk around the room and check to see how students were doing. I didn't give a whole lot of feedback if someone was doing it incorrectly. However, as soon as I heard a fair number of "DONEs!" I told students to check with their table to see if they got it right. This allowed two things to happen. First, students who weren't quite done could keep working without seeing the answer on the board. Second, students who got it wrong were able to see correct work, have time to fix their mistake, and get an explanation from a classmate.

One major con about this activity is that is does focus on speed. Students see the purpose of this activity as to get it done first so they win. So, I decided to address this to the whole class. After we did 2 or so problems, I acknowledged that I knew people in this room were getting flustered and couldn't think as fast as everyone else. I then reminded them why we were doing this - to review! And the point of the review is to help them be prepared for their factoring quiz! I asked them: "When you take your factoring quiz, will you get points if you get done first or if you get it done right?" That was a good lightbulb moment for a lot of kids - especially those who were feeling overwhelmed with the speed at which others were completing some of the questions. I think making this kind of a statement is necessary so that students who work at a slower pace don't feel excluded.

I hope you use/tweak this activity to fit your needs!

Link: PPTx