Thursday, September 26, 2013

Piecewise Function Fun

I have always struggled with teaching piecewise functions to my Pre-Calculus students.  Thanks to the mathtwitterblogosphere and pinterest, I found several great worksheets and activities to try out this year, and so far I feel like it has gone MUCH better!  Here's what I did:

I started off with this activity that I got from here.  I love it because it builds to a piecewise function instead of just diving in.  And it lets me review writing equations for lines without having to take out a day just for that.  And all the functions are linear, which lets the piecewise functions be the focus instead of reviewing all kinds of different functions (which we would do on another day).
Piecewise Day 1

The next day, we did this worksheet that I got from the fabulous Sam Shah.  I like it because it builds on the worksheet we did the day before and throws in a few non-linear pieces to the functions.  And it focuses on evaluating piecewise functions.  The best part was that we did the worksheet under blacklights using highlighters.  The kids LOVED it!  I think black light math is something I will incorporate more often, especially when we're graphing, because the graphs done in highlighter really pop!
Piecewise Day 2

You can kind of see here how the graphs pop under the black lights.

Finally, we did this worksheet which is different from the others in that they are graphing the functions, not just writing the equations or evaluating.

I have had very students who seem to be struggling, which is a big change from years past.  Their first Standards Based Assessment over piecewise functions will be tomorrow, so I'll let you know how they do!


  1. How did you set up the blacklight in your classroom?

    1. I have a floor lamp and a table lamp in my room. The floor lamp holds two bulbs. I bought three blacklight light bulbs off of Amazon and put those in my lamps. It's a little dark, but we're a BYOD campus, so the kids use their cell phones for light. Also, I turn on my projector and that gives some ambient light as well....

  2. Do you have the answers keys for the two Piecewise worksheets?