Graph Aerobics Introduction

Surprising students in their math classes by teaching in unusual ways can grab their attention and even appeal to individuals learning styles. This is one such activity.

After students have become familiar with predicting the graph of a line using the clues of slope and y-intercept, I begin to introduce Graph Aerobics. At the time, students aren't aware that I will eventually ask them to perform a dance routine. Students will pose their arms and bodies to represent a line or quadratic graph. The culmination of this activity is a dance where students follow on-screen cues and keep the rhythm of the music.

After a family of graphs has been practiced, I'll ask students to stand and try to pose their arms or arms and legs in a representation of that graph. It becomes a kind of stretch and an accepted break from paper and pencil work.

For instance, I'll ask students to show me what they think   Y = 0   might look like. Then I ask them to show me   Y = 5.  ( They generally stand on tip-toe.) And finally I might ask them to pose as   Y = - 8.   (Students often squat.)

After we've spent time exploring quadratics, I can ask them to stand and demonstrate;

      Y = X²
      Y = ½ X²
      Y = 8 X²

There is no limit to what could be done in this way.

      Y = X² - 4
      Y = ( X + 2 ) ² + 1

Throughout our graphing unit, students will recognize graphs formed by changing the variable's coefficients. They will also have had experience standing in the class and posing their arms to show the shape of the graphs.

These are the only other prerequisite graphs for the Graph Aerobics exercise;

      Y = | X |
      Y = X ³

When students are familiar with all of these graphs it is time to bring in extra speakers, wear comfortable clothes, dance Graph Aerobics, laugh and have math class be the main topic of school conversations!