Monday, April 7, 2014

Creative Art Project Introduced!

Yes, some students were ho-hum ... but others ...

... explored all the trig functions to see what shapes they would make
... imported a picture into Demos to see if he could outline it with equations
... discussed the virtues of a single drawing versus a scene
... asked if abstract drawings were acceptable
... tried a few basic functions and how to limit the domain and range

I wish now I hadn't given students 3 whole weeks to complete the project ... I can't wait to see their art!

So what is expected and why?

Our algebra 2 curriculum is structured around a series of parent functions.  We introduce the concept of functions at the beginning of the year.  And then we start marching through seven of them!  With linear functions we explore systems of equations.  Then we look at absolute value functions and how they are related to linear functions.  We end our first semester with an intensive study of quadratic functions ... first examining the graph, transformations, and using graphs to solve problems.  And then we solve quadratics and problem solve some more.

In our second semester we jump into radical equations first since they are inverses of quadratics ... and then we take a detour to study rational exponents.  Next up are exponential functions and logarithms.  And last we learn about rational functions.  That's where we are now.  We are finishing our first unit on rationals which is the graphing unit.  Then we will simplify, solve, and apply rational functions to word problems.

So this creative art project is planned with the purpose of reviewing these seven functions, their transformations, domain, and range.  Students must use at least five of the seven studied to create art.  Their artwork must have at least 12 equations total but as we discussed today, most will have many, many  more.

In the past I would have students create this work on paper.  BUT oh my, DESMOS to the rescue!  How much nicer to have the art online, equations clearly identified, easy to see what students did! Now the focus is on transformations, limiting domain and range ... not on their ability to graph the functions by hand.  The thinking process is different ... better from my perspective!

Here is a link to the handout I gave students.  I can't wait to share their work with you all!  Check back after April 28!


  1. I love this idea and have done something similar, though not with demos. I think a project like this also helps students really solidify their understanding of domain and range, which I know my students still struggle to understand.

    Please share the best on your blog, I'd love to see them.

    1. I agree that the project should help students get a good understanding of domain and range. And since I made specific window requirements it should also reinforce transformations which is a big part of our curriculum. I hope to share ... it will be the end of April! Thanks for stopping by. And ... if you haven't used Desmos I highly recommend it for ease of use and clarity of graphing.