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Transforming Functions to Fit Data

Transforming Functions to Fit Data

Transforming Functions to Fit Data

Mathematical Explorations Using Probes, Electronic Data Collection Devices, and Graphing Calculators

Ronald J. Carlson and Mary Jean Winter

Two levels of experiments. First, students learn to collect and graph their data, work with tables and graphs, and answer both qualitative and quantitative questions about functions. These exercises are geared primarily toward pre-algebra and algebra students but can be used in more advanced classes as well. In the second set of experiments, intended primarily for algebra and precalculus, students move on to using transformations to find a symbolic representation of the underlying function. Students learn that there are families of functions. Starting with a "parent" and using algebraic manipulations, students work toward a specific function that models their particular experiment. Activities are also provided that let students practice transforming functions to fit existing data before they experiment with their own.

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