Students’ Goals for Graphing

I share highlights from our research study published on February 28, 2020. (Scroll for article link.) What are students trying to do when sketching graphs? What do students think graphs “should” represent? What We Did We conducted a set of three individual interviews with 13 high school students (8 eleventh grade, 5 ninth grade). Students …

Opportunities for Reasoning Impact Students’ Attitudes and Performance

Opportunities for reasoning matter. Students need math to be more than a race to find answers to other people’s questions. How to create those opportunities? We worked with Dan Meyer and the team at Desmos to develop activities for students to learn how graphs work. You can check out the activities here. Great activities are …

From What iS? to What iF?

To open opportunities for students’ math reasoning, change the questions. Instead of What iS? Ask What iF? The questions look similar. Yet they imply very different responses. What iS? “Give an answer” What iF? “Consider the possibilities” Too often, students experience math as a pursuit of “What iS?” rather than an exploration of “What iF?“ …

The Same Situation. Two Different Graphs.

Students have many opportunities to use different types of representations to show the same relationship between variables (e.g., graphs, tables, equations). Students also benefit from opportunities to use different forms of the same type of representation (two different looking graphs) to show the same relationship between variables. Wonder how that can be? Check out this …

Increases can increase? Learn what students think

Sea levels aren’t just rising. They’re rising FASTER. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/world/sea-level-rise-accelerating/index.html Yet how do students come to make sense of variation in change? How do “increasing” increases become things for students? In a March 2018 episode of the Math Ed Podcast, I talked with Sam Otten (@ottensam) about an article I co-authored with Evan McClintock. I share …

Give students opportunities to make sense of varying increases

2018 began with news articles about varying increases: U.S. Private Payrolls Growth Accelerates; Jobless Claims Up UK Productivity Growth Hits Six-Year High After Weakest Decade Since 1820s Euro Zone Factory Growth Surges to Record; More Uneven in Asia What kinds of opportunities help students to make sense of accelerating growth? In our recent research article, …

Make Graphs about Relationships with Cannon Man

In math classes, students work with graphs. A LOT. Yet, what do students think graphs are? Why might students sketch or use graphs? A powerful way for students to think about graphs: As relationships between “things” that can change Together with Dan Meyer and the team at Desmos, I developed activities, “Techtivities” to provide students …

Are transformations of functions giving your students trouble? Try a covariation approach.

Consider this problem: Sketch a graph of a function y=f(x). Now sketch a graph of y=f(ax) for some constant value a>1. Reflect. What kind of graph did you sketch for y=f(x)? How did you decide what to sketch? Did you choose a particular value for a? How does your graph of y=f(ax) compare to your graph of y=f(x)? What is …

Graph Makeover: It’s about time

Think back to a time when you encountered a “real world” graph in a math class. What was on the horizontal axis? Probably TIME. Graphs represent relationships between two things. When working with graphs, it is important for students to form and interpret relationships between TWO things that can change. Yet, if one of those things is …

Investigating Functions with a Ferris Wheel. Part 3: Exploring Distance and Width

Here are some tips for using the Ferris Wheel Distance-Width Interactive with students. The format is parallel to Investigating Functions with a Ferris Wheel: Part 2. I suggest using the Ferris Wheel Distance-Width Interactive after students have explored the Ferris Wheel Distance-Height Interactive. I introduced these interactives in Investigating Functions with a Ferris Wheel: Part 1. Explore changing distance and width: Ferris wheel animation Click Hide Width, Hide …