I think the kids get functions this year. After we looked at graphs and tables and mappings and saw what functions looked like for these situations (one day) and got a formal definition of functions, the next block day, I started by giving them pairs of objects like: rainfall and tulips. I asked which one depends on the other one? Which one is the input? Which one would be "x" and which one would be "y"? And, the new one for them: which one is a function of the other one? (we discussed what that means). We did that for 3 pairs of things.
Then I noted that THAT was a ton of writing, and we assigned variables to things like r and t, and I showed them t(r) and noted that the input, r, was INSIDE the parentheses, and the output, t, was OUTSIDE the parentheses, and if you were talking to your math boyfriend over the phone, you'd say, "t of r" or "t is a function of r".
Then we got to things like B(h) where B is your tutoring bill and h is the hours of tutoring. I asked them to interpret: B(3) = 120. We did this for 4 problems or so. I liked those types of questions, and we took them to graphs and tables the next day where I made them interpret v(5) or m(10) where there was context around the problems.
Next up, studying for finals and finals and a LONG BREAK to get more than 6.something hours of sleep each weeknight.