Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Get out of my Domain!

It is always a challenge for my students to understand the concept of domain and range of functions. With limited graphing experience at this stage, and without the use of calculus yet, this is quite a difficult thing for students to comprehend. In the last couple of years I have used GeoGebra to help when I am teaching this, I would project graphs of functions onto the board and discuss with my students the features of the graphs including the domain and range.
This year I have a class where every student has a laptop, so I decided to have the students enter the functions into GeoGebra to generate the graphs.
It is interesting the assumptions that we make about our students. I thought this would be an easy task for my students to complete. 
Well wasn't I surprised. Even though my students are what you would consider digital natives, I am starting to learn that they know what that know, which is usually games and social media, and not too much more when it comes to technology. Don't get me wrong, there are students who a brilliant when it comes to technology, but they don't represent the majority. 
I assumed that the students would be able to enter functions with powers and also with fractions. They were unaware that "^" was used to represent powers and "/" for fractions. 
So what started off being a lesson on domain and range, ended up being so much more than that.
I was glad with my decision to use GeoGebra in this way as it made me more aware of the capacities of my students. I think it was a worthwhile experience for my students also, who gained some technology skills while investigating the domain and range of some pretty cool functions. And to top things off, I've been able to talk a lot about asymptotes!

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