Comparison Matrix: Function Families

One of the teachers at our school leads a PLC as well as some whole-school PDs around literacy skills. She tries really hard to share strategies you can actually use in ALL content areas (you know the drill, they show you something, tell you it can totally be used in math, but they aren’t sure how and have no examples. Sigh.)

Our latest strategy was the comparison matrix, and it seemed like a great fit for Families of Functions.


We weren’t sure if our students had seen this structure before, and function families are a huge and wide-reaching topic, so my resident wisely took half a period to intro the concept.

Criteria Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Comparison

This is the basic concept (files below), and we started off with cell phones. First students were given two minutes to brainstorm some criteria they could compare the phones on, and fill those in down the left side. Then they had about five minutes to talk through filling in the columns for each type of phone.

We called on a couple of students, several of whom were hilariously into it. “Well, this network is 4G, and this is only 3G, so I think the wifi is important, but it really depends on what you want it for.” ….Um, an example? Although next time I’d totally have them look at something I did need compared–they did a good job!

Then we introduced the “Comparison” column and talked through good ways to make a comparison, and how its more than a list.

Once we were set on the overall concept, we got to work. Each pair of students received one of four versions of the comparison matrix, comparing three types of functions.


They had two days in class to work on the comparison matrix and got some amazing work back.



We both loved overhearing student conversations during this project–so interesting to listen in on what they’ve learned and how it all fits together.

I don’t know why the first page is blank, but I couldn’t seem to fix it. Just scroll down.

Have you ever tried a comparison matrix before? I had never heard of it.


4 responses to “Comparison Matrix: Function Families

  1. Pingback: Function Family Picture Project | X Y Pi

  2. Great graphic organizer for the students to use!

  3. Pingback: Looking for… | X Y Pi

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