The topic of nature is used as a means to show the capacity of functions to model actual data. The most dramatic events in our environment are natural disasters. Students relate to examples of extreme weather and natural disasters. Some may have experienced a disaster, most will have heard of these types of disasters, and all should appreciate the power of the forces of nature and their manifestations.
Each lesson assumes the students have been exposed to skills and concepts involved in the type of function that is discussed, i.e. inverse functions, solving multivariable equations for one variable. Prerequisite skills are listed, and it is assumed that students have had practice with these skills, some discussion of the concepts, and are ready for applications problems. The classroom environment will use several different structures in an effort to stimulate student discussion. Vocabulary is listed and separated into the mathematical terminology and symbols, and the scientific terminology.
An introduction to the scientific concepts will be incorporated into each mathematical lesson. The unit is structured this way to allow the lessons to be taught independently of each other. Each lesson is to take up about a week's worth of instructional time (at 45 min per session, 5 days). This allows time for the inevitable adjusted instruction that may take place regarding the prerequisite skills and the scientific content. It also allows time for the demonstrations and activities (2 days each) and the assessment (1 day).