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During the Summer of 2016, I attended a section called “Fun Functions” by CPM at the OCTM Summer Conference. That is where I learned about this function machines activity.

Given a starting value and an ending value, students had to arrange the function machines so that if the starting value was used as the input of the first machine, the output of the first machine was used as the input of the second machine, the output of the second machine was used as the input of the third machine, and the output of the fourth machine was the given ending value.

For my Algebra 1 students, I used the free resource page offered by CPM on their website.

CPM also has an Algebra 2 version available on their website.

The first challenge I gave students was to start with 15 and end with -6. They were able to use our new group sized dry erase boards in order to work on this problem. We’ve had these boards for about a week now (as of November 2016), and we have already used them SO much. I’m so thankful for my school’s foundation for providing the grant money to buy six group sized boards for my classroom. They also bought us 75 dozen dry erase markers. We can do so much more math now!

Not all of my students were successful at completing this activity. In fact, I only had two groups of students successfully complete the challenge. I think this is okay. The purpose of this activity was to give students lot of practice evaluating functions. Even the unsuccessful groups tried a ton of combinations and did a lot of practice.

The groups who were successful were asked to complete a second challenge: If the final output is 2 and the first input is 8, what order should the function machines go in?

I’m looking forward to trying this function machines activity again this year with my Algebra 1 students. I think we will do lots more practice just working with the function machines before we tackle this problem. I’m hoping they will be much more successful as a result.

## Links to Download Function Machines Activity from CPM

Algebra 1 Function Machines Activity

Algebra 2 Function Machines Activity

## More Activities for Teaching Functions

- Set and Interval Notation Dry Erase Template
- Pinwheels for Peace 2019
- Build a Function Activity
- Domain and Range Challenge Activity
- Sketch a Graph Activity
- Inequality and Interval Notation Chart
- Key Features of Functions Work Mat
- Find the Flubs Activity – Set and Interval Notation
- Domain and Range Restrictions Foldable
- Domain and Range Foldables
- Domain and Range Graphic Organizer DIXI ROYD
- Independent vs Dependent Variables Foldable
- Function Frayer Model
- Function Notation Puzzler
- Evaluating Functions from a Table Notes
- Evaluating Functions from a Graph Notes
- Evaluating Functions from an Equation Notes
- Graphing Functions Using Input/Output Tables Foldable
- Writing Functions Foldable
- Popcorn Graphs Activity
- Graphing Stories Foldable
- Discrete vs Continuous Functions Foldable
- Evaluating Functions Spider Puzzles
- Function vs Not a Function Card Sort Activity
- Function Machines Activity from CPM
- “Win Some Cash!” Task
- Function Activities from CPM Workshop
- Evaluating Functions Puzzle Activity
- Function vs Not a Function Puzzle Activity
- Function Auction Activity
- Evaluating Functions War
- Algebra 2 Graphing Equations Foldable
- Algebra 2 Domain and Range Foldable
- Increasing and Decreasing Intervals Foldable
- Finding the Max or Min of a Graph [TI-84 Instructions]
- Finding Maximums and Minimums Practice Book
- Finding Intercepts with the Calculator Practice Book
- Finding Equations of Inverses Foldable
- Sketching the Inverse of a Graph [TI-84 Steps]
- Two Truths and a Lie: Parent Functions
- Operations with Functions Dice Practice Activity
- Operations with Functions Foldable
- Finding X-intercepts of a Graph [TI-84 Instructions]
- Finding the Y-intercept of a Graph [TI-84 Instructions]
- Drawing Boxes for Domain and Range
- Composition of Functions Foldable
- Sketching Inverses Practice Book
- Graphing and Describing Functions Worksheet
- Parent Functions Card Sort Activity
- Evaluating Functions Notes
- Justifying Function or Not a Function Notes
- Graphing Functions on the Coordinate Plane Graphic Organizer
- Function Machines and Function Notation Foldable
- Function Transformations Foldable
- Relations, Functions, and Dating Advice
- Describing Characteristics of Graphs Foldable
- Interactive Domain and Range Foldable
- DIX ROY Acronym for Domain and Range
- Finding the Inverse of a Function Foldable
- Characteristics of Graphs & Functions Foldable
- Domain and Range Pictionary Activity
- Notation for Domain and Range Foldable

RJP

Friday 20th of October 2017

Hi Sarah

Saw this on your blog last week and wanted to try it out. Did this with my lower level Algebra 1 class yesterday. Gave them mini whiteboards, a set of cards, and a recording sheet. Asked them to start with 6 and end up with -8, 100, -38 and/or 10.816

(On the reverse side I asked them to start with 8 and end up with 784, -66, -234 and/or 18)

Started about 1/2 way thru class. For the majority of the kids it was a success - most got one or two - even had a student ask if she could come back and continue or borrow my cards!

Thanx