Engaging students: Finding domain and range

In my capstone class for future secondary math teachers, I ask my students to come up with ideas for engaging their students with different topics in the secondary mathematics curriculum. In other words, the point of the assignment was not to devise a full-blown lesson plan on this topic. Instead, I asked my students to think about three different ways of getting their students interested in the topic in the first place.

I plan to share some of the best of these ideas on this blog (after asking my students’ permission, of course).

This student submission comes from my former student Michelle Nguyen. Her topic, from Precalculus: finding domain and range.

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What interesting word problems using this topic can your students do now?

Problem: Joe has an afterschool job at the local sporting goods store. He makes $6.50 an hour. He never works more than 20 hours in a week. The equation s(h)=6.5h can be used to model this situation, where h represents the number of hours Joe works in a week . What is the appropritate domain and range for this problem?

Students will be able to state the domain has to be from 0 to 20 because Joe never works over 20 hours and he can not work negative hours. With the range, the students would have to plug in 20 into the equation and get 130. The range will not exceed 130 because the maximum hours Joe will work is 20 hours. The students will know that Joe cannot be able to earn negative money either. Because of this, students will be able to identify that the range of this problem is from 0 to 130.



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How could you as a teacher create an activity or project that involves your topic?

After learning about the definition of domain and range, I would use a matching activity to assess the students’ knowledge about the topic. For example, I would have different graphs on different cards and their domain and range on another card. The students would shuffle the cards and then find their matching pairs. By doing this, the students would have to discuss with their group or partner about why their domain and range card matches with their graph card. Students will be able to identify the range and domain that would make sense to them and be able to back up their conclusion with what they know about domain and range.


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How does this topic extend what your students should have learned in previous courses?

Finding the domain and range can be an extension of learning functions. Students have been exposed to functions and their graphs already before this topic is introduced. With the knowledge of functions, students are able to find the domain and range with a graph given. Since they are able to do that, students have prior knowledge to the meaning of x-axis and y-axis. Domain and range is just another word for x and y axis. The students have already been exposed to graphs of different functions and the students have learned how to make their own graph if only an equation is given. Students will most likely make a table with coordinates to graph their graph. With this knowledge, they are able to use it to find the domain and range of a function.

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