One of my favorite activities for introducing the concept of a function in Algebra 1 is to host a Function Auction. The first year I did this, I threw the activity together at the last minute.
I grabbed a random function/not a function worksheet off of the Internet and stapled some colored paper on a ruler to make auction paddles. Paint stir sticks also work really well for making auction paddles.
It worked so well, that I decided to create my own Function Auction worksheet.
How does a Function Auction work?
Teams are given $1,000 to spend. (I use Monopoly money. It’s not actual Monopoly money, but I found some clipart online that looks like it. Several teachers on twitter who have done this activity have created their own fake money with their faces on it. How fun!)
To start off the activity, teams are given exactly five minutes to look over the auction catalog before bidding begins. I caution students to use this time wisely.
I prefer to give my students the “auction catalog” inside of a dry erase pocket.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.
Here are my current go-to recommendations:
If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.
Lots are auctioned off in order, beginning with Lot 1.
The minimum opening bid for each lot is $50.
The bid must be raised in $50 increments.
After each lot is auctioned off to the highest bidder, the class will discuss whether it was or was not a function and why.
At the end of the auction, the group that has purchased the most functions wins.
If two or more groups have purchased the same number of functions, the group with the most money left wins.
One year, I made laminated cards that said “Function” that I gave to each winning team that purchased a function.
This made it much easier to determine the winner at the end.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.
I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.
I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!
Function Auction Catalog
The auction catalog features 12 lots. I used images of functions and non-functions from released state questions from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and a couple of other states.
I also made a version with boxes around each lot.
What Other Teachers are Saying About Function Auction
Function or Not a Function Worksheet
If I haven’t sold you on the idea of the function auction, I made the function auction catalog into a worksheet.
Free Download of Function Auction Activity
For the editable Publisher file, you’ll need these free fonts: HVD Comic Serif Pro and Aaargh. The PDF file will preserve the fonts and formatting.