Day 4: More Function Transformations, Percentiles, and a Golf Match

I know this is many days late, but this post refers to last Thursday (eep).  I’m going to do my best to get caught up this week.  Day 4 was a bit less eventful than most.  We spent a lot of time defining and transforming.

Precalculus:  This class was definitely the least eventful of the day.  I had to leave school early to go to a golf match.  So, we debriefed homework, and then I went on my way (while they did some conversion practice).  Unfortunately, this will happen more than I’d hope for this nine weeks.

AP Statistics:  We started the class with a warm-up that I modified from FSU’s Learning Systems Institute MFAS project (I think…I mean…I’m pretty sure).

We used this set of questions to emphasize details and clarity in their writing.  Defining the variable as clearly as possible, how they calculated certain values, etc.

The rest of class discuss percentiles and their usage.  We started the conversation with the least imaginative example I could think of:

Then came the hard-hitting question: “What does the national percentile represent?”

We spent the rest of the class calculating frequencies, relative frequencies (percents), and cumulative relative frequencies (percentiles).  Then we learned how to create and interpret ogives (they show percentiles versus variable values).  Nothing too spectacular, but necessary.

Algebra II:

We continued our conversation about transformations of functions.

This is the style of question I want them to be able to answer.  General trends for general functions.  Not memorizing rules, but knowing the 3 affects the input and the 2 affects the output.  Understanding that changing inputs affects the x-direction and changing the outputs affects the y-direction.  We’re really going to develop function ideas throughout the course of the year.

The rest of the activity was:

I could hear them starting to hypothesize what would happen (and justify their reasoning).  They’re still a bit afraid to be wrong.  I’m trying to convince them that they learn more from being wrong than being right all of the time, but they’re still a bit apprehensive.  It’s getting better though; we’ll stick with it.

Day 3: Histograms, Trigonometric Functions, and Function Transformations

Three days into the school year, my students and I are still getting used to each other.  Some classes have figured out that I prefer dialogue between teacher, student and other students.  Other classes have not started to trust that idea.  I’ll continue to encourage them to work together.

AP Statistics:

Today’s goal was to appropriately display quantitative data.  Most of the conversation focused on making histograms, stemplots and dotplots.  We did collect some interesting data though:

All of the data points were between 52 and 70 seconds.  Not too shabby.  Today was also the first day of AP Exam prep (even though they didn’t realize it).  Once we listed all 20 of the times from the class, I stepped back and said “now describe the data.” They had to work together to get all of the aspects they needed to describe: shape, center, spread, outliers/gaps/clusters.  They had some great conversations too!

Precalculus:

We started class connecting what they learned about converting from degrees to radians and how to calculate arc length (with angles in both degrees and radians).  Man, the connections that were made and the speed at which they picked it up was impressive.  I’m really excited about their potential.

Speaking of their quickness, we defined three new trig functions they hadn’t worked with before: secant, cosecant and tangent.  Rather than drill methods to solving problems, I threw this with them without any hints:

The ease in which they figured out to draw a right triangle, and use the Pythagorean Theorem was great!  I figured this would challenge them at first, but I was definitely wrong.  I definitely need to step up my game.

Algebra II:

We’ve begun to go deep into the world of functions.  I’m noticing that some of my students are struggling to see the big picture.  In today’s activity the focus was supposed to be on how changes in a function affects its graph:

We ended up so bogged down in the details of the order of operations and plotting points that we lost sight of the big picture.  Hopefully their homework tonight can help re-focus them.