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ERIC Number: EJ898326
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Funny Face Contest: A Formative Assessment
Colen, Yong S.
Mathematics Teacher, v104 n1 p50-56 Aug 2010
Many American students begin their high school mathematics study with the algebra 1-geometry-algebra 2 sequence. After algebra 2, then, students with average or below-average mathematical ability face a dilemma in choosing their next mathematics course. For students to succeed in higher mathematics, understanding the concept of functions is paramount. Accordingly, secondary school mathematics departments have found creative ways to provide more extensive treatment of functions in courses such as advanced algebra or functions, statistics, and trigonometry (FST). In this article, the author describes the Funny Face Contest, a formative assessment activity on transforming functions, which he designed. Two criteria were specified by the author for students to use in creating a unique funny face. First, students had to use at least one example from each parent function they had already studied: (1) linear; (2) quadratic; (3) square root; (4) absolute value; and (5) "semicircle." Second, students were restricted to graphing at most ten functions but could plot points using the Stat Plot option (students were using TI-83 Plus graphing calculators, but this activity could be completed using any graphing calculator). Formative assessments afford occasions to gauge student understanding. This pedagogical tool can lend itself to providing more impromptu interactions between the teacher and the students. In contrast to having students solve routine textbook problems, creating funny faces engaged them "in a task for which the solution method is not known in advance." (Contains 12 figures.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A