Featured Topic: Investigating Growing Patterns
Introduce elementary students to the concept of functions by investigating growing patterns. Visual patterns formed with manipulatives are especially effective for elementary students and allow them to concretely build understanding as they first reproduce, then extend the pattern to the next couple of stages.   Finally, students explain the pattern in words and try to write a rule that works for any stage.
See Investigating Growing Patterns for specific suggestions on using these patterns to help elementary students develop a concept of functions.   The article includes activities with handouts that teachers can use to introduce this topic to elementary students.   A Function Scrapbook of function ideas is included and examples of function problems created by elementary students will be added as they are completed. Literature connections and web links to relevant sites on the internet are also included in the article.
Function Scrapbook:   A collection of growing function problems created by Monmouth University education students is also included as ideas to get your creative juices flowing or to encourage students to think outside the box.
Student Work: Students are encouraged to create their own examples of functions using pattern blocks, pictures, etc. for a visual approach.   Look for student examples to be added as they are completed over the course of May.
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These sites provide students with additional online practice with function machines.   Teachers may differentiate practice for students by structuring the use of practice sites to best meet the developing needs of students in the class.
- Function Machine for Grades 3-4
- Function Machine for Grades 5-6
- Building with Functions for Grades 5-8
- Project Interactivate's Whole Number Cruncher uses only addition and multiplication rules to eliminate negative number outputs
- Project Interactivate's Number Cruncher
- NLVM Virtual Manipulative: Function Machine allows students to drag numbers into the function machine and see the output.   Students are then challenged to extend the rule to additional input numbers by typing in the correct output for these numbers.
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Mathwire.com is designed to provide activities and appropriate worksheets for teachers to use in their classrooms.   All activities and worksheets support the constructivist approach to learning mathematics and the NCTM Standards.
Activities:   The activities on this site were developed by Terry Kawas and the teachers in districts where she has worked as a math consultant and coach or with students she has taught in college math-methods courses.   The activities are classroom-tested by teachers and appropriate modifications have been made to reflect this field-testing.   These activities are posted online in an effort to share quality activities and routines within the mathematics community.