Graphing Stories

7 12 2011

In my 3rd year of teaching I’ve had an interesting phenomena occur.  I’ve taken a look at units I’ve skipped in the past (yes, I have that kind of freedom), and stumbled upon new ways of constructing them which took them from seemingly arbitrary exercises to having a cohesive place within the course.  For my 7th grade class it was our unit on sequences.  For my 9th grade class it was the “Linear Graphs and Their Applications” chapter.

This chapter was such a hot mess that I mostly elected to teach some function notation instead, and work the graphs in elsewhere.  This year, however, I remembered seeing an intriguing blog post about graphing stories.  So I gave it a go.

The students really got a kick out of the videos – but the most interesting part was how much they disagreed with the ‘answer’ graphs on the video.  They kept going back to the video to point out evidence for their conclusions.  And isn’t that what interpreting a graph really is – making a claim and backing it up with data?

We decided to make some videos of our own.  My guidelines were simple – at least 30 seconds long, with at least four unique events.  The following are some of their creations.  We had a lot of fun talking about all the possible variables the next day:

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