How to Introduce Function Transformations

Do you struggle with introducing function transformations to your students? Check this out! twitter friend, Barbara, asked me to share an engaging activity for teaching linear transformations.

Who am I to say no?

Alas, I had no resources for that. And it usually takes me less time to create an activity than it does for me to google and find one.

So I did.

An Engaging Activity to Introduce Function Transformations

Here are the basic steps:

1. Cut a “highly non-symmetric” shape out of construction paper.

You want it really freaky so they don’t get the transformations mixed up.

2. Decorate both sides of the shape.

Decorate your shape on the front and back with different things – like stripes on one side and polka-dots on the other.

This helps students see what’s going on when you do flips.

3. Create a coordinate plane that “matches” the freaky shape.

Use an edge of your shape to be the length of a single unit. It’s just nice.

4. Copy and give to students.

Or have them do the above steps on their own.

5. Ask students to choose “handles” on the shape.

These make the transforming of this thing manageable.

When transforming $latex f(x)=x^2$, it’s nice to hold onto $latex (0,0)$ and $latex (1,1)$. And when you get to freaky stuff like $latex f(x)=e^x$, holding onto $latex (0,1)$ and $latex (1, e)$ is vital!

6. Go crazy!

Give them instructions – either verbally or on paper. Here are some to start with:

  1. Move your shape right 2 units.
  2. Move your shape left 1 unit and up 3 units.
  3. Move your shape left 1 unit and then flip it over the y-axis.

7. Let us know how it goes!

Barbara used this activity. And here’s what she said while grading the quizes:

And now it’s your turn! Share in the comments and on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

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