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A variety of context for using exponential functions "in the real world" are discussed and examine. Students use given functions for Keplers Third law to determine the time it takes each planet to travel around the sun. Their findings are graphed. A function for an orbiting satellite is also given and discussed. Bacteria growth, as a function of a power of 2 is examined and values of growth are determined. Finally a larger set of questions using data to represent the number of reported cases of the Ebola virus in Liberia is used. Students use the exponential function, data and corresponding graphs to determine potential cases. A function to represent vaccination cures is also used.
Students are expected to be able to solve exponential functions with the help of their calculator. They are not expected to know anything about logs, however it certainly could be added for those classes where logs were completed.
Students are not expected to create the exponential functions which model the ebola virus. They are given data, given a function, and they determine number of cases and using a 2nd function for vaccination, use exponent laws to solve for number infected. An easy switch would be to require students to first determine the function that models the data, but at this stage my students were not expected to have this skill.
An extension activity using exponent laws and factoring is also given for students who move quickly through the application of exponents activities.
Answers are included. 6 pages of original document plus 6 pages of answers = 12 total pages. Answers are .pdf file, document is a .doc
See our other activities on Math Matters MM as we upload our math application activities.