Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Transformation Scavenger Hunt

Last week was the wonderful function transformation lesson.  I say wonderful with a bit of sarcasm as this section tends to overwhelm me a little every semester.

Let me tell you about symmetries.  Let me tell you about translations.  Let me tell you about reflections.  Let me tell you about stretching and shrinking.

All in under an hour.

This semester, the lesson did go a bit better, I have to say.  For one, the students seemed totally into transforming graphs of functions to make them look completely different than what they started out as.  Kudos to them.  For two, I adapted Kate Nowak's buried treasure idea to fit into our lesson.

I took the twenty-five desks in my classroom and handed out a worksheet that had this on the top:

So each desk corresponded to a point on the Cartesian plane.  I gave my students a set of points as well as a function transformation.  They were to locate the points and transform them correctly.  I told them the treasure was at the point furthest to the left, for example.  Underneath the desk, I had taped an index card that said something like, "Congratulations!  Hint 1 out of 3 correctly found."  Once they found all three cards I rewarded them by playing a favorite YouTube video of mine (which, I admit, was not math-related).

All in all, the scavenger hunt was a success!  This semester, I had the class split into groups.  Once a group felt like they had the correct point, I had them tell me their answer.  If they were wrong, I told them to try again; if they were right, I had them wait for the rest of the class to get to the right answer.  This of course forced the faster students to wait a little, but that was my only complaint about the activity.

I plan to use this again next semester when we come across function transformations again, as well as incorporate Desmo's graphing calculator, which has (wait for it) SLIDERS.

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