Saturday, September 21, 2013

IB Math SL - Functions

I'm teaching IB Math SL for the first time this year.  For those unfamiliar with the IB program, it is a two-year program that covers pre-calculus and calculus topics.  I'm doing year one right now, which means my juniors will be with me again next year.  I feel bad for the students I had last year in Algebra 2 - they'll have me for 3 out of 4 years in high school!  I only teach one section of the class, but so far I am really enjoying it.  The students are very motivated and positive, and the textbook for the class is actually pretty decent, so it is a good resource.  I do still supplement it with other resources, however.  This past week we've been reviewing functions (operations, inverses, etc.) and I modified some of my old work to use with them.

One activity that I use every year is the Functions Relay Race.  It really pushes students to use all of the different representations of functions at the same time, and it helps them see "f(x)" as a single value that can be operated on.  I also target typical problem areas - absolute values, negative exponents, etc.  I give each team the main handout that has all of the functions on it, and then they get the problems one round at a time.  I usually give a small prize when they finish a round.

And then here is a handout that helps students review/explore rational functions.  I especially like the point-by-point division that shows how a hyperbola is generated when you divide two lines.  Although, students are definitely confused by the directions and I always have to show them what I mean.  I've rewritten the directions several times, and I can't figure out a way to phrase them that works.  I think the problem is probably not in the directions themselves, but that students don't really have a solid understanding of the connection between the graphical representation and the symbols used.  In any case, feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.

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