Classhack: Show ’em the Curve

bendaroosToday’s classhack is a gift from Bonny Prudhomme, professor of mathematics at our college. We recently featured Bonny’s “Math Aerobics” strategy for helping students understand aspects of graphing equations. We had some Bendaroos® (“Amazing Flexible Bending Sticks!®”) stashed in our office, and we wondered if they might be used for the same purpose.

Bonny uses laminated 4-quadrant graphs and the Bendaroos® to illustrate transformations and reflections for graphed curves. First, she writes an equation on the board and asks students to generate a parent graph with a flexible stick:parentgraph

Next, students move their generated curves to a different location on the graph, depicting a transformation.transformation

Finally, students create a reflection of the original curve using the second Bendaroo® reflection

  • Sensory pleasure: This ingenious little trick features several of our pleasures in learning. The colorful flexible sticks are, well, cute, and it’s fun to stick them onto the laminated graph.
  • Solving the equation and developing the curve is an achievable challenge.
  • Because the sticks adhere to the laminated graph, students are able to show their work to one another and to the instructor (belonging to a group/owning something of value).
  • Students are surprised by how much fun this exercise can be, and there is some gentle humor as they correct any errors.
  • Finally, students experience autonomy in their learning when they actively create the curves rather than merely watching an instructor do the work.

Can you think of some ways to integrate Bendaroos® into your classes?

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