In our Absolute Value Functions unit, we spend quite a bit of time discussing the characteristics of functions. I think the characteristics discussion is more productive in this unit than in our Functions unit because we are examining one specific function in more depth. However, I wanted to find a way to give students the opportunity to practice, without just sitting in their seats. So I made this stations activity…

I printed these graphs and equations on colored 8.5 x 11 inch paper and put them around the walls of my classroom:

Then, I gave each student a packet with these blank link sheets:

Students were instructed to visit 6 of the 10 stations in any order they wished. I labeled the station link sheets as even or odd, so that students would have the appropriate place to sketch a graph or write the equation from a graph. Depending on the length of your period, you might have students solve 8 of the 10 stations, or all 10. I chose 6 because I wanted to have enough time at the end of class to give students an exit ticket. We also did a warm up problem and reviewed last night’s homework before starting (our periods are 48 minutes long).

I also solved all of the stations, and taped the solutions to a board like this:

I taped them upside down so the answers wouldn’t be visible, and directed students to come check their answers once they finished a station.

I set up a table next to the board of answers so that I could monitor the checking, but it wasn’t a problem at all. I thought students would be rushing over to look at them, but many never came over at all. I put Station #10 at my table and called specific students over to sit and work through that station with me. Some of these students had been absent the day before, and others I wanted to provide with some specific one-on-one help.

I use index cards to help students cover half the graph to identify where the function is increasing and decreasing. Overall, the activity went really well and some students asked if they could solve all 10 stations!