Light It Up
Look through the Light It Up Activity Sheet.
Light It Up Activity Sheet
Do the activity sheet in advance to familiarize yourself with the questions and possible answers before you use it with your students. (Answers to some of the questions on the activity sheet are provided at the very end.)
The class should be divided into teams of three to four students. Each student should have a graphing calculator and a copy of the Light It Up Activity Sheet. Each team will need a mirror, a laser pointer (or flashlight), a block (or a thick book), tape, and two tape measures.
This lesson is designed to guide the students to discover a connection between the problem situation, its graphical representation, and the algebraic representation of rational functions. In particular, students should be able to connect the graph of a rational function to a rational function in standard form. The standard form of a rational function is:
In this lesson, the role of the teacher is to assess student understanding and listen, moving from team to team. Encourage students to work cooperatively. Refrain from answering individual student questions, especially those that can be easily answered by the team.
Distribute the Light It Up Activity Sheet to all students. Note that the activity sheet consists of five parts; although the five parts are related and build on one another, you may wish to distribute them one at a time, conducting a brief discussion between parts.
A description of the problem situation appears on the first page of the activity sheet. Read the problem out loud, and then ask a student to describe the problem in her own words. Be sure that all students understand the problem that they will be solving before moving on.
In their groups, students will work on each section of the activity sheet. As mentioned above, the activity sheet consists of five parts, as follows:
Allow students to work collectively on the activity sheet, pausing them at certain points to discuss what they have discovered. These intermittent discussions are a good opportunity to assess student understanding and to make sure that all students are participating within their groups.
When all students have completed Question 3, have a whole class discussion about asymptotes. Talk about the definition of an asymptote and its affect on the domain and range of a function. Describe other functions, such as exponential functions and trigonometric functions, which contain asymptotes. Then allow students to return to the activity sheet.
After completion of Question 7, students should be able to write a rational function in standard form. They should also be able to state the connection between a rational function (written in standard form) and the equations of the vertical and horizontal asymptotes. After Question 8, they should be able to determine the value of a. As you circulate around the classroom, randomly ask different teams to explain the relationship between the graph and the equation. You should ask the following questions:
Continue to question each group until you feel that they are making connections between the graphs and the equations. Visit each group at least once.
When all teams have completed Questions 1 through 8, conduct a whole-class discussion that covers the following two questions, as well as any other questions that students may have:
After completion of Question 8, students will investigate the Light It Up game. This is the main activity of the lesson. The previous questions and discussion were meant to prepare students to recognize rational functions. As necessary, help students set up the Light It Up experiment described in Question 9. You may wish to demonstrate how this investigation works by showing one example at the front of the room before students begin their own experiments.
The benefit of the hands-on experiment is that each student group will gather data by holding the laser pointer at a different height. This will result in different rational functions. On the other hand, you may wish to have all students explore the situation using the same height and therefore gathering data about the same situation. This will allow for a whole-class discussion to occur in which students have a common set of data.
Regardless of how students investigate the problem from Question 9, allow them to complete the activity and the remainder of the activity sheet.
4d. If students created the equation shown in 4(c), it can be converted to standard form by dividing the numerator by the denominator. The division would look like this:
Using the quotient from the division as the constant c, and using the remainder as the value of a, the equation could be written in standard form as follows:
5c. The graphs have the same shape, but the graph from Question 4 has been translated up 5 units, as a result of the extra fee.
5d. The value of b represents a vertical asymptote, and the value of c represents a horizontal asymptote.
8e. The value of a cannot be determined from the graph directly. However, if the values of b and c are known, then by choosing a point on the graph and substituting its x- and y-values into the equation, the value of a can be found. (The value of a will be an approximation. Its accuracy will depend on the accuracy to which the coordinates of the point can be determined.)
9f. Assuming that the block is placed 25 cm from the wall at a height of 10 cm, and the height of the laser pointer is 150 cm, then the equation will be . (See the discussion above about how to obtain these values exactly from the problem situation.)
10a. The temperature of the water in the container is the average temperature of all cups of water. There are 8 cups of hot water and c cups of cold water, so there are (c + 8) cups total. The average of these is: .
Play the Carousel Game. Question 10 can be used for independent assessment of student understanding.
The Carousel Game Activity Sheet
Students appreciate working out a problem and seeing that their outcome reflects a real situation. After completing Question 10, students may like to see this problem in action.
After the students have algebraically determined the amount of cold water (20°C) that must be added to the container to lower the temperature of the water in the container from 50°C to 40°C, set up the experiment.
You will need:
Place the 8 cups of hot water into the container. Place the thermometer or temperature sensor in the water. Record the temperature of the 8 cups hot water; this indicates the temperature for 0 cups of cold water. Gradually pour in ¼ cup of cold water, stir, and record the temperature. Repeat with ¼ cups of cold water until the temperature reaches 40°C.
Questions for Students
1. What was the purpose of this lesson? What did you learn?
[The purpose of the lesson was to learn about rational functions. Rational functions are quotients of two other functions, and they have a standard form.]
2. What are the connections between the values of a, b, and c in the standard form of a rational function and the graph of the function?
[The sign of a indicates whether the graph appears in the first and third or second and fourth quadrants. The value of b indicates the vertical asymptote, and the value of c indicates the horizontal asymptote.]
6th to 8th
3rd to 5th
Light It Up GeoGebra Activity
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