Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Absolute Value Functions Part 2

After a few days of working on absolute value functions, I wanted my students to apply it to something concrete.  They had the transformations and graphing down pretty well and had done creative assignments to demonstrate their understanding.  I found a "Fire House" problem that seemed like a good fit.

My mistake: I used the problem after my students knew too much about writing absolute value functions, so going back to linear functions seemed odd to my students.

I did like the problem; they got right into modeling.  The biggest discussion was how you count blocks.  Culturally, I could have guessed that this would be hard for my kids to get.  I live in a rural area and most students don't live in an area where they can walk "a block" to get somewhere.  I saw the lightbulbs go off as I explained how houses are numbered by blocks.  The 100s, 200s, and 300s are separated by cross streets.  Many didn't know this or had never realized it. 

We got through parts I and II today.  Tomorrow we'll tackle the graphing calculator-heavy extension. 

If I use this problem set again, I will reword a few questions to make it more clear what is being asked.  I had a few questions come up over and over as I moved from group to group. 

What's your favorite way to teach absolute value functions?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B

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