Question highlight: Graphs: Two random transformations, by Ben Brawn

In this series of posts, we’re highlighting questions we’ve found on the public Numbas editor which do something innovative or are of particularly high quality.

In this question, Ben Brawn of the University of Newcastle, Australia (our namesake down under!) tests your understanding of plane transformations by asking you to move points on a function’s curve corresponding to a given transformation.

I like how this question encourages students to explore their understanding of plane transformations graphically, by dragging points about. They can also work the other way, writing coordinates in the boxes and seeing how that affects the graph. There’s extra information under the “Show steps” button, making great use of the conditional visibility feature to show hints relevant to the particular transformation shown.

We asked Ben how he uses Numbas in his teaching:

I work at the University of Newcastle, Australia in the Centre for Teaching and Learning as a Mathematics Learning Adviser. The select few of us with this title, work with students individually (through a booking system and regular drop in sessions) and in groups (through regular workshops) to help them make sense of mathematical content. We advise students on how to study for courses that involve mathematics, help them see the big picture in their courses and create mathematical learning resources that we feel are useful for students. We also try to work with lecturers to improve courses if we identify issues.

I create practice examples on basic maths topics (eg primary/high school) and share them on a Blackboard site that all the students at our university have access to. This way regardless of what degree they are studying they have access to basic maths practice and help. If they can’t follow the explanations given in the Numbas practice exams then they contact us for further help, either through email, video chat, or in person.

I have also created course specific questions and exams at the request of lecturers that are placed on their own blackboard course sites and these have only ever been used for practice without marks attached. But who knows, maybe one day we will use Numbas for assessment with marks attached.

Ben has produced a huge amount of high-quality questions on basic maths topics, with over 150 released under a CC-BY-NC-SA licence, free for anyone to re-use. Thanks, Ben!

Try this question out now on the Numbas editor, or have a look at Ben’s other freely-available content.