In the middle school and high school math curriculum, graphing functions and interpreting graphs are important skills to develop and cultivate. But many students never feel comfortable in the coordinate plane. One project that helps Algebra 1 students in seventh grade with their graphing skills is the function picture project. In the Fall semester, students write at least 50 linear equations (straight lines) in an online graphing tool. The lines come together to make a picture, and students must restrict the domain of each equation to give it the desired length for their picture.

In the Spring, the Algebra 1 students learn about various types of functions. Their project in early May involves writing at least 50 equations including quadratic, cubic, absolute value, exponential, square root, and rational functions. Using the different function types provides various curving shapes to make realistic pictures. By using all of the main function types, students become proficient in writing and translating functions in the coordinate plane.

In Geometry, students learn to graph circles and learn to use extra variables controlled by sliders (resulting in movement of lines and curves). This year, the students in Geometry at Advent decided to make pictures that share an outdoor Christmas theme. They each made a small picture and combined it into one larger picture. For students who work hard, the project can be a fun way to use math creatively.

To see the equations and graphs created this semester by our Algebra 1 students and the Geometry class, go here: 

Kyle DeBoer

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