My Algebra 2 students always do much better when they are given lots of visual supports. I can relate; I love visuals too. The more words that get cut out directions the happier I get. (Unless we're talking about IKEA directions. Those make me weirdly uncomfortable!

A few years ago I decided to combine our graphing calculator unit with our quadratics unit into one huge learning curve. I joke that by the end of it my hair is more grey! This decision came a year I didn't have enough graphing calculators for all of my students. But I kept it this way because of how much growth I see in my students. It's awesome and like magic.

But we definitely need supports. I start our quadratic word problems unit by handing out this sheet and making it into a poster for our word wall. The poster highlights the keywords for finding time to maximum, maximum height and the total time in air.

The poster above helps my students remember where to place their graphing calculator cursors to find zeros, but some of my students needed a little more.

This quadratics poster with the red and blue stars is the one we reference most when using the graphing calculator to find maximums and zeros and is a permanent part of our word wall. Since we don't need to find the non-positive zeros in projectile motion problems, this visual gets right to the point. I made all of the posters in this post following these directions, and they hang on our class word wall and front board.

When we move onto rocket problems, the graphing calculator window soon becomes really important when finding maximums and the positive zero.

**First, try ZOOM 6**. If that doesn't work...

__Ymax:__
Try 10, then 100, then 1000, then 10000, then 15000, then 20000 until you see the top.

__Xmax:__
Try 10, then 20, then 50, then 100, then 200 until you see the right zero.

This usually gets the entire parabola on the screen for the problems we have been working on.

To practice, I give the above projectile motion template as a warm-up (I give them a word problem with or without the function). These warm ups can sometimes take up to 15 minutes for students to complete and offer super rich practice.
I'm not a huge fan of tests, so I give the above quadratic task cards activity to asses student understanding.

This quadratics bundle contains a variety of quadratics activities. Each activity is also linked separately.

These are great! If you don't mind me asking... what program do you use to make them??

ReplyDeleteI don't mind at all! I made the graphs in Geogebra or Graph Free (one or the other:), saved the graphs as jpegs and pasted into Powerpoint. Powerpoint is AWESOME for making posters because you can layer and things don't jump around like in Word.

DeleteI can't seem to get anything out of Geogebra... is there a good place on the internet that explains how to do the awesome things you do??

Deletehi Melinda, thanks for asking. Geogebra has changed a lot in the last few years. If you go to their website, click the "+" and choose "start graphing". You can then enter an equation. Click then right-click on the graph to change the grid's properties. I am happy to help more if this doesn't cut it. You can email me at scaffoldedmath@gmail.com

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