Earlier this year, my Algebra I students learned about exponential functions. We've been asked to follow the sequencing of EngageNY and I'm not a huge fan of the program. For whatever reason, that meant that my treatment of absolute value functions came after exponentials. This makes little sense to me, but it meant that absolute value functions seemed very obvious to my classes, which I expected.
I made a set of 12 graphs using Desmos.com, took screenshots, and printed them as cards for each student. The students cut the cards apart and we got to work sorting the cards after a short reminder of what absolute value means and a sketch of the parent function using a table of values. For each round of the sort, I had students keep the parent function separate from the other graphs so they would have it as a point of reference from which to make comparisons.
The sorting rounds each worked like this:
- I told students what characteristic they should sort by (orientation, stretch/shrink, horizontal shift, vertical shift).
- Students sorted the cards by themselves.
- At their tables, students discussed the answers to three questions:
- How many piles did you make?
- What did you label the piles?
- Which cards belonged in each pile and why?
- Following a brief team discussion, we had a whole class discussion of the sorting methods and the cards that they selected to put in each pile.
After sorting, students glued the cards into their ISNs, and wrote notes under each graph describing any differences from the parent function. We did the first few together and they did the rest in their groups. Then, as groups finished, I distributed lists of equations that matched each graph. Students matched the graphs and equations using their prior knowledge of transformations on exponential functions. This part took so little time and students were overall confident in their answers.
With the hard work done, we just needed to formalize our notes with a summary page.
The document I'm sharing contains the graphs, equations, and sorting questions.
This document was our pre- and post- notes.