# Relations, Functions, and Dating Advice

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when my students give me dating advice.  After all, I gave them some dating advice a few weeks ago, and they must be just returning the favor.  If you want to know what your students really think of you, let them write you an online dating profile.  But, more on that scenario and how it came to be at the end of this post.

After spending several days on relations and functions in Algebra 2, I put up this slide.  Mathematical Dating Advice.  Yes, the room will grow quiet.  Conversations will cease, and all eyes will be on you.  You will be shocked at the rapt attention that your students are capable of paying you.

When you are dating, you want to be in a functional relationship.  Let the x-coordinate of the ordered pair be any person.  In this case, the x-coordinate is Bob.  Let the y-coordinate of the ordered pair be the x-coordinate’s significant other.  As you can see, Bob is dating both Jill and Sue.  Therefore, this is not a functional relationship.  And, unless you want to get your heart shattered in a million pieces, you need to get out of this relationship as fast as possible.

After this short conversation, I think I saw some light-bulbs come on.  There was laughter, and I heard several girls discussing how they were going to ask the next guy they were interested in if he was a function or non-function.  They decided this was problematic, though, because he wouldn’t know what they were talking about if he hadn’t taken Algebra 2.

As students were working on their function/not a function card sort, one group of students called me over for what I thought was help.  Actually, they had been discussing my advice, and they had decided that one of the girls was currently talking to a guy who was definitely not a function.  So, could I please tell their friend that she should stop talking to this guy?

Fast-forward to about 2.5 weeks ago, my Algebra 2 students are now working on distance vs. time graphs.  We’re doing graphing stories.  We’re writing stories to match graphs.  And, this is leading to a lot of off-topic conversations.  It’s a Friday, and the class consensus is that we would all rather be at the beach than analyzing graphs of walks at the beach.

And somehow, one comment leads to another, and my class is soon discussing how I should describe myself if/when I try online dating.  This is what they come up with:  “I like taking long walks along the beach and graphing them.  I love reciting the quadratic formula.  And, I enjoy reading math books by a roaring fire.”

I guess I should be thankful that they are concerned about my relationship status.  But, I don’t think I will be taking their advice any time soon…

## More Activities for Teaching Function vs Not a Function

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