Shifts of Functions Project

This year during our virtual learning time, I took a project that I usually offer for extra credit and made it a class assignment. I decided that with the time we were all spending at home because there are no sports, in person social gatherings, concerts or opportunities to be out and about that it was the perfect time for kids to get to dive into a creative project. Algebra students had just finished studying shifts of functions, and we culminated that experience with a project.

The details

The project was a creative one. It had a simple goal: You will create an original piece of work using graphs from many “families of functions” as characters in your story. My hope for you in this project is that it is FUN, CREATIVE, and that it brings you JOY! Formats permitted include: poster, book or booklet, digital document, mixed media. The story required 6 pages or scenes and may be any genre. Ideas for topics include: How to book, original children’s storybook, existing children’s storybook, recipe book, current events, Anime or sports.

Example of student work. Read on to see the complete projects.

Your story needs to include at least 15 characters. Every character has its own equation, regardless of where it appears in the story. For example, if you decide you are y = x2+3 you are always that function.  You must use at least 3 of the following function families. You may include others if you like.

  • Quadratics
  • Square Roots
  • Absolute Value
  • Cubic Functions

              Quadratics                 Absolute Value               Cubic                           Square Root

         f(x) = a(x-h)2+k     f(x) = ax-h+k         f(x) = a(x-h)3+k        f(x) = ax-h+k

Your story may be about the topic of your choice, however, it must remain a PG-13 rated story. If you would feel embarrassed sharing the story with your parents or grandparents, it is not appropriate for this assignment. If you are in doubt, please check in with me.

Another image from student work. Complete projects are at the end of this post.

Grading

The project was worth 25 points. 3 of those points were from our Delta Math shifts assignment where the kids would demonstrate they had mastered the concept of shifting functions. In the future, I plan to change this to a 30 point project with 5 points given for mathematical equation accuracy.

LabelingEvery character’s equation is labeled in every scene. This can be a key on the page. It doesn’t have to disrupt the story and be right by the equation, but it does need to be clear. Graph paper is used for accuracy./5
StorytellingThe reader can follow the story and there is a clear purpose for each character in the story./5
AccuracyAll 3 graphing families are represented in a purposeful way. Note: you are welcome to do more than required here. If you include extra families, you will receive bonus points./5
ArtistryWe are all artists in our own way. To get full points in this category your story or poster needs a consistent artistic focus. The style should be evident throughout the work and not taper off toward the end./5
SubmissionTo receive full credit in this section you need to submit your project using one of the following: video, attached documents or photographs or physical drop off if that is your preferred method. You must also complete the Delta Math assignment. (Due Friday April 24th). That is worth 3 points of this 5 point section./5

My example story

To demonstrate the idea to my class, I wrote a story about my family’s experience during Covid-19. It is a true story featuring some of the highlights of our early time during this pandemic. We are a family of quadratics and other families are introduced with some of the characters.

My story

Student projects

I was blown away with what the kids turned in. As the submissions started to arrive, I was so excited!! Many had a great time with this. I enjoyed reading the different directions they went with this project. I received permission from several students to share their work. Select the links to view their projects.

Recording LIVE math classes

After an 8 day journey I finally figured out how to record my live classes with Google Hangouts. Now, let’s be clear that this is not a huge feat if you are teaching something that can be done solely with a computer. My problem is that I need to use my iPad to share my screen using Explain Everything. I have figured out a few things in this process that make me ultimately happy that Google Hangouts won’t let you record a live meeting from an iPad. Read on to hear the journey.

The quick history

We have been asked to hold daily office hours to answer student questions and of course we’re responsible for teaching our students. Initially I chose to do this by recording a video every morning and posting it. However, after just a few days I missed my kids and I needed the feedback sooner. I wanted to be able to answer their questions in the moment and I wanted to make sure I was delivering instruction at a level and pace they could manage. These things are both better accomplished with a LIVE class. I also wanted to record the class. I asked my accelerated Algebra students to attend live classes for 4 days so I could work out the kinks with them. Our first 7 days are chronicled here, with day 8 below.

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Week 1: Student thoughts about online learning

It’s been a week of this so I reached out to my students. What do they think? Are there aspects they like about online learning? What is challenging? I posted this to my 80+ students and received responses from several. I appreciate these varied responses.

I feel like I don’t really like it because I wake up and there is like already a lot of notifications on stuff to do and like I have to do things with my family and stuff so to balance so much work and house/ family things is hard. Also, with todays delta math it’s kinda frustrating me because it says that I am getting them wrong and then I go to submit the same answer again and then it says its still wrong when it’s literally the same thing.

I wish there were fewer notifications in Google. It is overwhelming. I know it is hard to be a student and see all these notifications because it is hard to be a teacher and get all the notifications too. I wish Google had a lovely calendar view of posts. They have a calendar view but it isn’t really good enough in my opinion. I want a true calendar grid that can persist at the top of the feed and show all assignments on the day they are assigned with all the necessary info. I created a version of this for my students in my classroom website (password protected) and gave the link in the top of my feed but it is still another place for them to navigate to. Delta math is a great program that we use, but it does have its limitations and that largely comes with entry of problems. Like any computer program it can only accept what it expected to see, so if a student makes a small rounding error or submits the answer in a slightly different way than the computer wants it, it will say no.

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It’s a wrap: Week 1 of online learning done!

A little over a week ago when school shut down abruptly for a month, I felt a mix of fear and anxiety. In the mix of this I also felt pretty prepared to tackle school online. I’ve already been recording my classes and posting them daily. Just a month prior I had a student start to poke fun of teachers and their tech ability and he paused, “actually you are the most tech savvy teacher I’ve ever had.” This comment made me smile. I try really hard to integrate tech in a seamless way into the classroom and this 8th grader noticed.

What I’ve learned and tried

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Teaching K-12 Online – part 2

This week when schools were abruptly shut down due to Covid-19, our school rallied with teacher training. I was invited to do some of the training sessions. We determined that my focus would be Digital Assessments, Explain Everything and Workflow. Over the weekend I worked on putting presentations together for my colleagues. Our plan was to offer Google Hangout sessions (the platform our school has selected for video conferencing) to all the teachers. Each presenter would record the session for future accessibility.

Digital Assessments

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Recorded Classes with Explain Everything

This post has been on my list of things to do for so long. I was inspired to write it after our Algebra 1 midterm this year. I teach mostly Math 8 classes with one accelerated group of 8th grade Algebra students. As part of our year we had a midterm review followed by a midterm. The midterm grade was a small portion of their grade. The focus for them was to learn to study for a cumulative test and to manage the pressure as well as possible.

After the midterm we went over the test in class. I record most classes so that students can watch if they are absent. This allows the kids to come back to school caught up or close to caught up. Sometimes I don’t record if everyone is present. The day we went over the midterm Jordan was absent. I recorded the class as we went through the most missed questions.

Ms. Dawson I was talking to you!

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Teaching K-12 Online – part 1

A few years ago I went back to teaching after a really long gap of staying home with my kids. During those years home Common Core was instituted, SmartBoards were invented and a lot about the education world changed. There were a few things that made my entry back easier than it could have been.

  • I went back as a long term sub
  • The SmartBoard in the room I taught in was broken
  • I was already really progressive with tech when I left teaching
  • My husband works in tech
  • My kids were in grades 6 and 9 and were very willing to help me

There were more things, but these were the essentials. At the core of this was the fact that my students were not at all used to being taught with tech because of the broken SmartBoard. I had the gift of time to innovate given the conditions I was working with. I wrote this post on my husband’s blog about my journey into tech.

Continue reading “Teaching K-12 Online – part 1”