Monday, April 13, 2015

IMP Fireworks - Parabolas and Equations I, II, and III and The Vertex Form of a Parabola

I am absolutely loving the way Meaningful Math develops the Fireworks unit. These graphing activities go through each of the ways that parabolas are transformed using phase shifts. The students explore each of the phase shifts using graphing calculators. They start with different equations to enter and analyze and then they are given a picture of multiple graphs on the same coordinate plane. They areasked to create the picture by typing equations into the calculator.

The first few activities I gave each student a TI-83 and each group also had an Ipad. Once they figured out the correct combination of equations the group displayed their graphs on Desmos which I projected on the board using Airplay. This was a neat way to have the students to "show off" their work. However, as we were going through the activities I noticed that many of the students were just waiting for the person with the Ipad to type in the equations. They were not using their calculators like I had intended. I wanted them to use the calculators first and then display their findings using Desmos. Therefore, today I had the students to let me know when they got each of the pictures correct. I initialed their papers where they had written down the equations that gave the picture. We did not use the Ipads today. I liked the change - especially since we were working on the activity that pulls all the shifts together. By requiring initials for each of the problems I was able to formatively assess each individual instead of each group. Since each graph took a good bit of  time to create it was feasible for me to initial.

Today's activity introduced the students to the vertex form of a parabola. It combined all the pieces that we have been working on in the last few days. I feel that after working on getting the equations that generate the pictures the students were beginning to demonstrate a firm understanding of the phase shifts. 

On a side note...Thursday Tom Laster and Laura Murphy from It's About Time came to our school to observe our classes and discuss plans for next year. Observe is really the wrong word...they actually came into my class and sat with my students and participated in the graphing activity. My students really enjoyed this and I was honored that they came to visit!