Growing, Growing, Graphing!

In this statistics lesson, students focus on China's population growth. They graph data on graph paper using a graphing calculator or spreadsheet software. Students predict future population numbers and decide if the population growth is linear or exponential. Students analyze the data they collect and write equations that match their graph. Resources include Web sites with current and archived population data, government sites, and mathematical sites with interactive graphs comparing linear and exponential functions. Math extensions are made to other linear and exponential growth situations that exist in the real world.

**Grade Level:** 7-12

**Subject Matter:** Mathematics, Geography

**Curricular Uses:** Mathematics: exponential and linear functions, basic statistics, graphing, and data analysis

Geography: Asia

Curricular Uses in Extensions:

Social Studies: Foreign policy

Science: Bacteria growth; exponential decay

Economics: Finance; compound interest

**Learning Objectives**

**Students will be able to:**
Graph data.

Interpret and evaluate the data.

Extrapolate future data from current graphs.

Differentiate between linear and exponential functions.

Explore other practical situations, and determine if they demonstrate linear or exponential growth (or decay).

**Use of the Internet:**

The Internet is used as a tool for Web research, so proper use of search engines must be discussed. Teachers may preview and bookmark useful sites for students before the lesson to save time. Remind students to check that their resources are updated, insuring current and accurate information.

This lesson was developed by Patricia M. Holmes, wNetSchool Master Teacher.