Resources for Teachers

This Month's Highlighted Resource

  • Parabola Slalom
    • For Class:  Algebra 1, Algebra 2
    • Topics Covered: Quadratics, Parabolas, Roots of Polynomials, Graph Transformations
    • Overview: Desmos has lots of teacher resources, including this hands-on applet to explore equations of parabolas. Students are asked to find functions so that the aerial view of their function 'skier' passes through a series of slalom gates. This is a great recap after covering the root form of a parabola, the vertex form of a parabola, the standard form of a parabola, and graph transformations in general (how to shift, stretch, flip any function, not just parabolas).
    • Critique: This activity works well to inspire creativity in students as they develop problem-solving approaches. You may wish to let students explore on their own for a while. Later on, I find this activity to be a good opportunity to have students explain their choices. Decisions need to be made as to whether the root form, standard form (also called vertex form) or general form is most appropriate. You can challenge your students to find equations in all three forms for a given problem. This will encourage your students to think flexibly. The final open-ended question in which students create their own slalom course is another opportunity for students to show their creativity.

Comparison of Online Whiteboards

Online Textbooks

All textbooks listed here, by Mike Weimerskirch and the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, are open for the use of all, written by Mike Weimerskirch, edited by Stan Pride, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Other Resources

Previously Highlighted Resources

From September 2020

  •  http://www.visualpatterns.org/
    • For Class:  Algebra 1, Algebra 2
    • Topics Covered: Recursion, Sequences, Arithmetic Sequences, Linear Growth, Equations of Lines
    • Overview: Fawn Nguyen has curated hundreds of patterns for students to explore. The instructions ask 'What is the equation?' which likely will be interpreted as asking for a closed formula, which in most cases will be the equation of a line. Students will see patterns of growth that give the instructor an opportunity to talk about slope. These patterns can also be used to talk about recursive formulas and many problems provide multiple ways to approach the pattern. 
    • Critique: The task of finding the equation is simply stated and students can get to work right away. In the first few minutes, instructors have an opportunity to ask students how they are organizing their discoveries. Prompting students to build a table of values is a good lesson, and the decomposition of each pattern into components gives great opportunities for discussion. The answers are not provided, which is probably good for the student to not have that resource, but the number of objects in the 43rd picture is given, which should give students a method to check if their formula is correct. Many of the patterns are essentially repeats of one another, but there is a lot of variety. On the website, there is little indication to explore recursive formulas or to discuss how to create the next pattern from the previous pattern, but this is another area of exploration that instructors can use.
    • Activity Worksheet