Activities to Teach Students to Determine End Behavior of Polynomial and Rational Functions

Polynomial and rational functions are essential topics in high school algebra courses. In these functions, the end behavior plays a crucial role in understanding their nature. End behavior refers to how the graph of a function behaves as x approaches infinity and negative infinity. Therefore, it is vital for students to learn how to determine the end behavior of these functions accurately.

Here are some activities that can help students learn how to determine the end behavior of polynomial and rational functions:

1. Real-life Applications: Start the lesson by introducing students to real-life applications of polynomial and rational functions. For example, ask students to research and present applications of polynomial and rational functions in fields like engineering, finance, and economics. It will help students identify and understand the relevance of these concepts in everyday life.

2. Graphing Polynomial and Rational Functions: Ask students to graph polynomial and rational functions. Once they have graphed the functions, they should observe the behavior of the graph as x approaches infinity and negative infinity. Have them mark the behaviors with arrows on the graph.

3. Practice with Examples: Provide students with a set of examples, both polynomial and rational functions, and ask them to determine the end behavior of each function. This exercise will help students apply the concept to different functions and understand how the degree of the function impacts its end behavior.

4. Exploration with Technology: Provide students with access to online graphing calculators in class. Ask them to graph the polynomial and rational functions and observe the end behavior. This activity will help the students to understand how technological tools can assist in understanding the end behavior of the functions they are studying.

5. Create Their Own Functions: Ask students to create polynomial and rational functions with specific end behaviors. Have them graph the functions to observe if they have correctly identified the end behavior.

6. Peer Reviewed Reflection: Request that students review each other’s work. Require students to reflect on their reasoning, check the accuracy of their answers, and debate the ideas discussed.

In conclusion, teaching students to determine the end behavior of polynomial and rational functions can be challenging, but with the right set of activities, it can be an enjoyable and learning experience for students. By creating engaging activities that let students apply their skills, educators can help students to master the skill of identifying the end behavior of polynomial and rational functions.