Friday, July 12, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse -- Life Saving STEM Project / Safety Plan

It's inevitable. One day Zombies will take over Earth. If you are not preparing your students, you are being irresponsible. If you want to turn your "dead" exponential and logarithm unit into an "undead" one, this 21st Century Math Project might work for you.
Name: Zombie Apocalypse
Suggested Grade Level: 9-12 (Algebra 2 skills)
Math Concepts: Exponential Functions, Logarithmic Functions, Modeling, Predicting, Inverses
Interdisciplinary Connections: Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse, Report Writing
Teaching Duration: 1-2 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $6 for a 18 Page PDF (3 assignment and answer keys) 

The Product: Students will use data from the assignment to formulate an Action Plan for the United Nations Center for Disease Control.

Turn your Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus into a forum for United Nations research and development. Specifically focusing on exponential and logarithmic functions, students will be given the notes of a renown scientist who herself has become a zombie. They must make sense of the notes before they too succumb to
Sweet. I'll start digging my shelter now.
the virus. Students will practice evaluating, modeling, analyzing and inverting these functions.

Lets not kid ourselves, there's about 12 different Zombie TV shows on right now. Someone must be watching them. I'm not a Zombie-junky myself, but I think it's a nice way to model some exponential functions.

In this 18 page document you will be given a mapping to the Content Standards, an outline for how to implement the project, handout resources for students to use, and an answer key. In all it is three different assignments --

-- "Zombie Apocalypse" will have students (or teams) answer the exponential function and logarithm questions and develop mathematical models and make predictions. Using regression functions on TI-Graphing Calculators or Excel is necessary. This
And everyone thought I was a zombie, ha!
should take approximately 1 class period. Along the way they will explore inverse exponential and logarithmic functions

-- “Outbreak”. In this task, half of your class will turn into zombies while the other have tries to cure them... or else they will become Zombies too.

-- “Z-Day”. Asks students to use exponential decay models to determine when the Zombie population is controlled.

Okay... Zombies aren't really my thing,
but I can see how this might apply to
other Earth-threatening Epidemics
Students (or teams) will create a report to the United Nations in which they design an Action Plan, Procedures for an Antidote and Suggestions for future safeguards.

As far as authentic math extensions could go, perhaps students can look at student attendance data around flu season (or exam season) and see if there's any exponential growth there :-)

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