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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: Teaching the Concept of Functions


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Subject:   RE: Teaching the Concept of Functions
Author: Jyoch
Date: Sep 24 2004
If you link the Math concepts of functions to simple Physics,  you could bring
the students' attention to the fact that, for example, time of a pendulum
oscillation is a function of (a) length of the pendulum and (b) of the
acceleration due to gravity.
Then the graph could show (and an experiment will be exciting in the math
class!) that there is a functional relation between time of oscillation and
length (but it is not a linear relationship)

If you want to stay within Math, then an experiment will show that volume of a
pencil is a function of its' length and its diameter.

Then the students begin to see the slickness of the idea of functions. They even
begin to make jokes with it. "My anger is a function of the number of jelly
beans that my brother took from my lunch ..."

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