How to Play
The Function Machine is an input-output device that challenges the player to find the rule that is being used to transform an input number into the output. The app addresses known problems with learning algebra. In particular, seeing the connection between a table of values and a function rule is fundamental to making a good start with algebra.
A Rationale for using the app
Have you noticed how often the idea of spotting and describing a pattern in numbers occurs in the new Australian Curriculum: Mathematics? The Patterns and Algebra section of the curriculum kicks off in Year 2 with describing patterns with numbers and identify missing elements’. In Years 3 - 6 the idea of a pattern within a sequence of number remains but the underlying rules become more complex.
There's a change in emphasis in Year 7, but the idea of describing a rule is there as creating algebraic expressions and evaluating them by substituting a given value for each variable.
In the classroom
The Function Machine app covers all of the above by generating a table of values that enables students to guess the rule that the machine is using to transform an input number into an output number. This is clearly a key concept that bridges the curriculum from Year 2 to Year 7. Suggestions for using the app are given in the Lesson Plan.
This app is available for both iPhone and iPad.
07 May 2013
Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
This product can also be used as a resource for the classroom. The following lesson plan and activity may help you to make the most of the product with a group of students or the whole class.Download Lesson Plan