Zombie Outbreak (Linear, Quadratic, Exponential Comparison)
Description of student activity:
This activity has students compare three zombie infection models (linear, quadratic, and exponential). Students will complete at table, graph the resulting models, write equations for each model, and then simulate infecting 3 cities, a state, a country, and the world using the equations.
Students will begin this lesson by completing a table of 10 days for a linear, quadratic, and exponential infection model. Days 0 through 3 are completed as an example to demonstrate the connection of linear, quadratic, and exponential functions to constant 1st differences, 2nd differences, and common ratio, respectively.
After students complete the table, they will complete two small graphs on the same page or two larger graphs (provided later in PDF). The 1st graph focuses on the initial behavior of the models and the 2nd focuses on comparing the rapidly increasing exponential model to the linear and quadratic models.
When students are done with the graphs, they will find the constants for each of the standard form equations of the linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. Helpful guides will assist students during this portion.
Once completed, they will simulate infecting 3 cities, a state, and a country of their choice as well as the world by using these equations to calculate how many days it will take to completely infect it. For this part they will need internet access to research the most current population data for each locations. (Note: To better aid you in checking student work, I have derived simplest form equations for each model in terms of population).
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