Students in MAT 182 seem to constantly struggle with the graphing section in the course. I have added days in for practice, given worksheets and still results seem to be lower than I was expecting. This current semester I continued with the practice worksheet that has 10 graphing problems where they are to use a table to help them graph, identify amplitude, phase shift and period, as well as of course graph the function. However, this semester I tried giving them two separate packets where all I did was change the numbers around and change a few numbers in the function. Now it may just be the class or the semester but for example last semester my pass rate on this exam (D or better) was 70% where this semester it was 75%. It was not a significant increase but still large enough to hope that the extra practice, having them see the material over again was a success. I will continue this in upcoming semesters and see if I see a substantial increase in the success rates on this exam.
Practice does make perfect! I'd encourage you to have students graph using an online program such as MathAS. It could give them lots of practice with randomly generated functions, but also is 100% FREE!
Sometimes seeing material in just a slightly different way can really help. A repetition in this case could really allow the material to sink in. I look forward to seeing your results the next time you use this technique
Have you thought about having students use motion sensors in class? They can video tape a spring with a mass on it and get a nice sine wave. You can then discuss the amplitude, period, etc. Also, I think that students struggle so much with graphing this because they can't do fractions! Cutting the coordinate system into fourths is very difficult for them. Have you tried emphasizing rules of fractions and symmetry with graphing? Nice job.....
While statistically 5 per cent may not be significant, you mirrored the action research cycle, learned from it, and are continuing modifications accordingly. Well done!
I'm interested to see if you continue to see better results with this. Maybe adding yet another practice would yield even higher results.
While not a surprise, it is nice to see something provide a positive outcome. Hopefully it continues to work!