Key features of parabolas are important to understand the why behind quadratic graphs. It seems intuitive, and it is provided an image, but often the situation is represented as a graph with only words to guide students. My students can graph them but seem to struggle with where things are on the graph. We approached quadratics much differently this year, using only Desmos and graphing calculators to graph. We started with an idea from a colleague at another high school in my district. She uses fly swatters on day one to review key features of a parabola. This is not in the context of a situation but a good place to start. Student LOVED this activity.
This is played relay style (picture was taken on pajama day for homecoming, hence the jammies) and students run up and smack the parabola on the key feature selected.
link to slidedeck
I also gave an exit ticket in Desmos activity builder to see where we still needed to remediate. I really liked this one because it was open-ended. They moved the parabola around to meet each requirement.
I’ve included the link to the Desmos activity if you would like to use it as well.
Lastly, we worked with real situations. I gave them an Angry Birds picture and had them label, with their elbow partner, initial height, maximum height, time to max height, and time to the ground. It went pretty well and they got everything but initial height, which led to great discussions.
Our last activity was giving them a situation with an equation, they graphed it in Desmos and used their graph to make #mathsnaps. Bitmoji has updated so it wasn’t as easy to use since the beginning of the year (sad face). Students must now create an account on their app (iOS or Android) then link that to the Chrome extension. For students who didn’t have access to the app, I provided a link to clipart and emojis they could use. Here are a few of the math snaps I received this year.
This is without feedback so some of the information isn’t correct. We’ll be conferencing about it soon.
We learn from mistakes and some of mine will have some learning opportunities. YES!
#booksnaps came from the incredible Tara Martin who decided to take Snapchat and have student annotate information from books. I loved it! Then I wanted to know how I could use this in math class. I was so excited when I coined the phrase #mathsnaps only to have Tara tell me someone else already beat me to it. That’s ok, it’s still a great idea.
I had my students create math snaps for parabolas after their catapult project. It’s a great (and fun) way for students to demonstrate their understanding of key features of the parabola. AND… you get to use Bitmoji’s so it’s a win-win.
I have a short tutorial on my Infinitely Teaching blog to help with the creation of #mathsnaps in Google Drawing but I also give students this document in Google Classroom so they can be self-directed learners.
You can do this with any math subject area. Be creative with it. Here is an example from Jacob Mehr who saw my #mathsnaps on Twitter and decided to try them himself. He took the picture then dropped the image in Desmos. From Desmos he screen captured the image and put it in Google Drawing to finish the #mathnsap.
While researching for our parabola unit I stumbled upon the project posted by Julie Reulbach on her blog I Speak Math. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, you should! I adapted her activity a little to make it go along with Clash of Clans and carried the theme throughout the activity.
I shot the orange spikey stones (because if you say balls in front of freshmen…) at students as they walked in the door starting about a week out. They were pretty excited to get to shoot the catapults themselves. Many of them also play Clash of Clans or Clash Royale so they enjoyed that part too. The activity is frustrating for some of them who like to have their hand held through each step. We have them work together at tables and only intervene if the productive struggle is no longer productive.
I have attached all of my documents for this project. Remember, this is modified from Julie’s project. You can get all of her originals here.
This is a printable bulls-eye. I feel like I can use the castle image in the middle since it’s a screen-shot I took from the game. If you feel this is questionable, then take the image off.
Desmos activity This is updated from Julie’s as well. I included the Clash of Clans images (possible copyright issues here – sorry) but it makes it more engaging for the students.
I plan to update this project for next year with some spreadsheet activities.