TES Maths Resource of the Week
What is it?
Cubic graphs feature more prominently in the new GCSE specification. As well as sketching cubics from a table of values and recognising the very basic variations on y = x3, higher tier students will also have to sketch graphs of simple cubic functions given as three linear expressions. And this is where this activity comes into play.
Students are required to match 21 cubic equations to 21 sketches of cubic graphs, some of which are very tricky. By the time they have battled through the task, the GCSE exam will seem like a breeze and they will be far better prepared for the demands of co-ordinate geometry at A-level.
How can it be used?
The activity works really well as a match-up exercise, but there are a couple of ways you could extend it.
Firstly, why not just give students the equation cards to begin with? Following a whole-class example, challenge them to write down as many key graphical features as they can for each equation. It might help them to find a decent starting point before move onto the sketches.
Secondly, I would recommend giving each group a token to be exchanged for one sketch on Desmos. Not only does this offer students some much needed support, but it also helps to familiarise them with the software, which will prove invaluable as they continue on their mathematics journey.
Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.
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