Differential Calculus using Methane Data

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A classroom/laboratory activity for Mathematics teachers to teach about Differential Calculus, specifically, about polynomial differentiation focusing on  Tangent Line Problem and Curve Fitting. This activity contains yearly data of the globally averaged marine surface methane from 1984 to 2019. Methane is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – a potential cause of global warming.

Students will learn the use of scatter plot and curve fitting to derive the polynomial differentiation function. Further this activity will allow students to predict future methane concentrations.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What are polynomial differentiation functions?
  2. Derive a polynomial function using the given methane concentration date.
  3. Calculate future methane concentration using polynomial differentiation.

About the Tool

Tool Name Global Marine Surface CH4
Discipline Mathematics and Statistics
Topic(s) in Discipline Differential Calculus, Polynomial Differentiation, Tangent Line Problem, Scatter Plot, Curve Fitting
Climate Topic Classroom/Laboratory Activity
Type of Tool Video (64 mins)
Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Location  Global
Language English
Developed by Thomas J. Pfaff (Ithaca College)
Hosted at Sustainability Math
Link Link
Access Offline
Computer Skills Basic

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