Friday, September 15, 2017

Critical Thinking is a Favorite!

For this week's prompt ... "Your Favorite Math Task / Activity / Lesson" there was a clarification that it can be a small task or entire lesson. I'd like to share critical thinking questions that I use in various lessons for small group discussion and explanation.

In the last few years I worked with Pre-AP students.  We were encouraged to emphasize critical thinking, developing students' understanding and use of abstract notation ... in preparing students for AP Calculus.  

Here are a few questions that we used in various units:

Create equations for parabolas that fit these criteria:
a. Vertex in the first quadrant, concave down, and 2 roots with an axis of symmetry at x = 2.
b. Vertex in the second quadrant, concave up, and no roots.
c. Vertex on the y-axis, 2 roots, and concave up.
Explain how you determined each of your equations.

Find the value of b that will make the function pictured  have only 1 zero at -6. 

Find the value of k that makes the linear expression, x - 2, a factor of the cubic expression pictured. Explain your thinking.

We used multiple representations (word descriptions, tables, equations, and graphs) in comparison activities. I believe this one is from a textbook we used:

Consider the function, f(x) = log base b of x where b and x are real numbers. Can the domain include 0? Explain you thinking.

There are more questions/activities.

Parent functions are a huge topic in Algebra 2.  In this post I describe some ways we try to encourage critical thinking as well as just memorizing the functions.

I describe some other problems I considered rich tasks in this blog post.  I share a problem for several units in Algebra 2.

In addition, I used critical thinking structures in class.  Here are a few examples:

All of the above questions/activities are noted in my blog somewhere :)

I do have a few additional activities for sale on TpT that address critical thinking in a few units of instruction.

How do you get students to analyze, compare, contrast, and problem solve?

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