Overview

In this activity, students cooperate to solve the steps to correctly graph a function.

The instructor first presents the problems and solves two on their board, closely following guidelines. They then divide the class in groups of 3 ( to make sure that groups are balanced in regards to skill/knowledge level) and give each of the students a handout with one step of the 3-stage problem. There are 8 versions of the problem, so each group gets a different one. Once students complete their section, they work together in their group to sketch the graph ...

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In this activity, students cooperate to solve the steps to correctly graph a function.

The instructor first presents the problems and solves two on their board, closely following guidelines. They then divide the class in groups of 3 ( to make sure that groups are balanced in regards to skill/knowledge level) and give each of the students a handout with one step of the 3-stage problem. There are 8 versions of the problem, so each group gets a different one. Once students complete their section, they work together in their group to sketch the graph of the given function.

If there is time, groups can exchange their handouts to evaluate each others’ work. The instructor collects the assignment and gives feedback but not grades.

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Objectives

  • For students to learn to sketch a curve
  • For students to be able to validate what others do, understanding mistakes in others’ reasoning and the overall problem-solving process.

Context and requirements

Level CEGEP
Discipline Mathematics
Course Calculus I (201-NYA-05)
Activity Content functions; graphs

Author’s Notes

Benefits

  • Collaboration: students feel more comfortable asking/learning from other students.
  • The procedure to solve this type of problem is long, thus it is helpful to share the process with others before doing it all alone.

Challenges

  • Some students finish more quickly and want to “help others”, which hinders other students’ learning
  • Some students who are very focused on the outcome/grade may pressure others to not make mistakes.

Tips

  • Mention that the goal is to be able to finish the question, but not necessarily get everything right – the assignment is not graded.  
  • Remind students to manage the time they give to the individual problem solving part and the cooperative section.  

Activity Pedagogical Components

Distributed Problem Solving

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