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Logistic and Exponential Differentiation using Solar Energy Data


As a high school or undergraduate Mathematics teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching introductory differential calculus; specifically, about differentiating logistic and exponential functions and the use of the Quotient (or Product) Rule.

This lesson plan will allow you to teach differentiating functions- logistic and exponential, using a hands-on computer-based classroom activity that includes data of photovoltaic (solar) energy production of several countries from 1990 to 2016. In the context of global warming due to carbon emissions from fossil fuel, harnessing a clean renewable source of energy like solar power is increasing across the globe and can be a potential solution in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

This activity includes a set of inquiry-based questions that will enable your students to apply their understanding of logistic and exponential functions and apply the Quotient (or Product) Rule to describe the rates of increase of photovoltaic energy production over time in countries such as Germany, Italy, USA, and the World. Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Mathematics.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Learn about differentiating functions and the use of the Quotient or Product Rule.
  2. Distinguish between logarithmic, exponential, and logistic functions.
  3. Apply differentiating functions to describe the rate of increase of solar energy production for several countries (from given datasets).
  4. Discuss the importance of increase of renewable sources of energy such as solar energy to reduce global warming.

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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