"In the Dark with an Elephant" Teacher Support
In the Dark with an Elephant Archived PoW || Student Version
In the Dark with an Elephant is no longer the current ESCOT Problem of the Week. The student version allows teachers to use the problem with their students without giving the students access to the archived answers. Teachers can use the link to the archived problem to get ideas about student thinking.
In the Dark with an Elephant asks students to explore how the look of a graph of a function can vary, depending on how the domain and range of the graph window are set. The students will investigate why the same function can sometimes look straight, while at other times it looks curved.
This ESCOT PoW could be used as an introductory exploration on domain or range, or as a part of larger units on graphing and the effects of scale.
If you have something to share with us as you use any of the links or suggestions on this page (something you tried and changed or a new idea), we would love to hear from you. Please email us.
Alignment to the NCTM Standards - Grades 6-8
- understand patterns, relations, and functions
- analyze characteristics and properties of two-dimensional geometric shapes - use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems
- solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
- communicate mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others
- use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely
- recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics
- Introduce the idea of the elephant by having the students imagine that they are looking through a rectangular periscope (like the spectator periscopes used at golf matches to see over people). They should think about pointing the periscope at a certain part of the elephant, and then giving the coordinates that would tell someone else how to aim it.
- Find an appropriate viewing rectangle in order to get a complete graph. For example:
- Functions Made Easy by Eldred Marshall
Lessons for Students - Graphing
- Coordinate Graphing by Laurie Dunbar
- Graphing the Weather by Ric Cooley
- Interpreting Graphs - The Hot Tub by Cynthia Lanius
Resources to use with students:
- Domain and Range
- Range and Domain of a Graph
- Function Machine
- All About Functions
- Mapping Functions in the Real World
- Natural Domain of a Function
- Chameleon Graphing
- General Coordinates Game
- Graphing a line
- Graphing a linear equation using y=mx + b
- Maze Game
- Meeting Lulu
- Plotting points
Links: Graphing Links
Using Claris Works to Graph
- Graphing Linear Functions
- Graphing Polynomial Functions
- Graphing Exponential Functions