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Sketch a Graph Activity

I created this Sketch a Graph Activity to give my Algebra 2 students much-needed practice with the vocabulary we use to describe the key features of functions.

This activity was based off of a problem in Pearson’s (now Savvas) Algebra 2 textbook. Even though the alignment of the textbook to the Oklahoma standards has left much to be desired, I have run across a few great tasks in the book. This activity was created from a problem in the first section of the book (1.1 Key Features of Functions.)

The original problem states: “Sketch a graph given the following key features.” It then goes on to specify a domain, range, increasing and decreasing intervals, x-intercepts, y-intercept, and positive nad negative intervals.

Pearson (Savvas) Algebra 2
1.1 Key Features of Functions

I decided that giving this problem to my students like it was written would likely overwhelm them. We were still struggling with remembering the difference between increasing/decreasing and positive/negative. The first section of the book had thrown a lot of new vocabulary at them, and I was trying to help them process it.

So, I typed up each of the 8 key features in the problem and made them into cards which I laminated.

Then, I gave each group a copy of my Key Features of Functions Dry Erase Work Mat in an 11 x 17 dry erase pocket.


dry erase pockets

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 are looking to save a bit of money, you can also pick up a package of 11 x 17 sheet protectors for a much cheaper price! They won’t be quite as durable, but students can still write and erase with their dry erase markers.

sketch a graph activity

Then, I gave each group 1 card. I printed the decks in different colors so I could tell each group’s cards apart. I randomly shuffled the cards and gave one to each group.

The group had to work together to sketch a graph that met the description on the card. When the group was happy with their graph, they called me over to check their work. If it was correct, I gave them a second card from their colored deck. Now, they had to modify their graph so that it met the requirements of BOTH CARDS.

sketch a graph activity

This allowed me to see exactly which vocabulary terms were giving my students trouble. I was able to make sure that they really understood what positive/negative meant before I gave them another requirement regarding increasing/decreasing.

sketch a graph activity

Since each group had their own random subset of cards, they couldn’t copy off one another.

sketch a graph activity

This turned out to be a really fun activity, and I was really pleased with how I was able to modify a single problem from the textbook’s homework section to be a great group activity that got students thinking and talking about math.

sketch a graph activity

It opened my eyes to some of my students misconceptions/misunderstandings regarding functions. For example, I lost count of how many times students presented me a graph to check that wasn’t even a function.

Sarah Lockhart

Friday 6th of August 2021

This looks like a great activity. I am trying to open the downloads and they each only contain one set of key features. It seems like there is meant to be more, am I doing something wrong? Thank you.

Sarah Carter

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

As of right now, the activity only includes one set of key features since I based it off of a textbook problem. You could definitely create more of your own. I have not done so yet.

Sorry for the confusion!

Thomas Powell

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

This is a great and simple activity. Thanks for sharing

Amanda Avila

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

Thank you for this activity! I was just planning our final unit where students need to graph polynomial functions!

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