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Gr. HS Unit: Modeling with Functions

Unit Overview

In this unit students synthesize and generalize what they have learned about a variety of function families. They extend their work with exponential functions to include solving exponential equations with logarithms. They explore the effects of transformations on graphs of diverse functions, including functions arising in an application, in order to abstract the general principle that transformations on a graph always have the same effect regardless of the type of the underlying function. They identify appropriate types of functions to model a situation, they adjust parameters to improve the model, and they compare models by analyzing appropriateness of fit and making judgments about the domain over which a model is a good fit. The description of modeling as “the process of choosing and using mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to make decisions” is at the heart of this unit. The narrative discussion and diagram of the modeling cycle should be considered when knowledge of functions, statistics, and geometry is applied in a modeling context.

The basic modeling cycle is summarized in the diagram below. It involves (1) identifying variables in the situation and selecting those that represent essential features, (2) formulating a model by creating and selecting geometric, graphical, tabular, algebraic, or statistical representations that describe relationships between the variables, (3) analyzing and performing operations on these relationships to draw conclusions, (4) interpreting the results of the mathematics in terms of the original situation, (5) validating the conclusions by comparing them with the situation, and then either improving the model or, if it is acceptable, (6) reporting on the conclusions and the reasoning behind them. Choices, assumptions, and approximations are present throughout this cycle

Essential Questions:

  • When and how is mathematics used in solving real world problems?
    • How can modeling be used to represent the solution set to a real world problem?
  • What characteristics of problems would determine how to model the situation and develop a problem solving strategy?
    • What characteristics of a real world problem inform the selection of an appropriate function to model a real world situation?
    • How do the parameters of a function relate to a real world situation?
  • When and why is it necessary to follow set rules/procedures/properties when manipulating numeric or algebraic expressions?
    • How does the mindful manipulation of algebraic properties create equivalent forms of a model that are more useful or efficient?
    • How does following set rules, procedures and properties of mathematics support the clear communication of conclusions and ideas?

A question is essential when it stimulates multi-layered inquiry, provokes deep thought and lively discussion, requires students to consider alternatives and justify their reasoning, encourges re-thinking of big ideas, makes meaningful connections with prior learning, and provides students with opportunities to apply problem-solving skills to authentic situations.

Unit Lesson

Additional information such as Teachers Notes, Enduring Understandings,Content Emphasis by Cluster, Focus Standards, Possible Student Outcomes, Essential Skills and Knowledge Statements and Clarifications, and Interdisciplinary Connections can be found in this Lesson Unit.