Friday, June 24, 2016

Variables, Expressions, Properties, and Functions

It's been a while! I'm going to continue sharing some ideas from my interactive notebooks I used this past school year. I'm going to shift from geometry and take a look at my Algebra I notebooks. I also use a lot of these for Algebra 2 as well. I feel like my Algebra I notebooks have a little more creativity than the others because that is pretty much the only thing I taught 2 years ago. I'm working on beefing up all of my activities and foldables next year, but I'm mainly going to focus on my other classes.

Anyways...we start out Algebra I talking about variables, expressions, properties of numbers, order of operations, and relations and functions.
I like this graphic organizer a lot because they can see all of the words and all of the operations right there. Before we take notes, I divide them up into groups and have them brainstorm words that mean a certain operation. I give each group their own operation. We then come back together and they'll share their ideas and I'll have others chime in anything else they can think of. They normally get close to all of them.

 This is the activity I have them do with translating phrases to expressions. It's a little too easy, so I may try something more difficult next year.

When we talk about order of operations and evaluating expressions, I like this activity a lot. I give groups of students a deck of cards and they draw cards to assign each variable a value. Black cards are positive integers and red cards are negative integers. They then evaluate each expression using those values and they have me check each one before they can move on. The formulas sheet is something I just got off the internet with a bunch of formulas on it. I actually only gave that part to my Algebra 2 students, but I think my Algebra I students would benefit from it also.

 Properties of numbers. It's pretty simple. I got this foldable from Sarah at Math=Love. The link to her blog is on the right bar under "Blogs I Love." She's awesome and has a lot of great ideas.

 Next we talk about the different parts of an expression and how to simplify expressions. We then do the activity below.

They identify parts of expressions first and then match expressions to their simplified form.

 Next is relations. This circle actually folds up into a triangle. We discuss the different ways to express a relation and give examples of each. We then do the partner activity with a deck of cards. The directions are in the picture. I get very picky with this, especially with the mapping diagram and graph. Mine tend to not put arrows on mapping diagrams and then connect the points on the graphs. So when I check their work, I always make sure they do this part correctly and explain to them why we draw arrows and why we don't connect points.

Sorry these are so crooked! We then shift from relations and talk about functions. This is something I really need to start beating into their heads and never stop until they graduate. It drives me crazy that they can't ever remember the definition of a function! With this lesson we do a card sort activity. I could have sworn I took a picture of the finished card sort but I can't find it anywhere! I give students a sheet with a bunch of random relations, mapping diagrams, graphs, and tables and they have to cut them out and sort them out. I like this activity a lot, but it's pretty time consuming with all the cutting and gluing. Next year I think I'm just going to do envelopes to skip all the gluing.

Last in this post is interpreting graphs of functions. We talk about intercepts, symmetry, etc. I think this lesson is kind of out of place. Yeah, it goes with functions. But we only talk about linear functions until Unit 8, so I may move this lesson to coincide with quadratics. 

I hope you find some of this useful for you! I'm open to any suggestions you may have, just leave me a comment below! Happy teaching!


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