Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fail Friday...on Saturday

I had been meaning to get help on this activity a while back, so Fail Friday seems to be the perfect opportunity for this.

Anyway...somehow I managed to totally suck at explaining intercepts this year in Algebra II.  Even after an entire semester with these kids, when I say, "What's the y-coordinate of an x-intercept?" all I get is *chirp, chirp, chirp.*

I wrote up this literacy strategy, that I was quite proud of.  I felt like they finally understood the algebraic definition of an x-intercept, and not just the geometric definition (i.e., I want more out of them than just "An x-intercept is where the graph crosses the x-axis.").  But...the next week I felt like we were back to square one.

Help!  How can I help them understand and generalize the concept of an intercept?  I especially want them to understand how factors and zeros are related.  What have you tried that you have had success with?  Class composition is juniors and seniors.


  1. One thing I found at a conference were these "link sheets". They were just 1 equation per side of a sheet, but the sheet is divided into 4 (or more) parts: equation (factoring?), graph, table, and verbal description/questions. The students have to get all 4 parts of the page to match.

    I think I've got an example here:

    If you want more, the speaker at the conference has a whole semester's worth of them (and I've created a handful), and I can send them to you!

    1. Thank you! Is this kind of like a Frayer model?-->

      I read your post, but the link to the example was no longer working. :(

    2. Yes, it is like that! I think that's where the speaker got the idea. I've got juniors and seniors, too, and I think it works really well reinforcing the fact that all of these represent the same thing. I am especially particular about the domain/range of the table matching that of the graph.

      I just fixed the blog post if you want to see an example--now Scribd (the downside to using Dropbox links--they don't last if you edit the file!). The example on the post uses words & questions in place of factoring, but I have other examples that use factoring or finding the roots. And the best thing is that with the blank template, you can make your own really quickly!

      I'll also tweet you my e-mail so that I can send you a bunch of them if you'd like!


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