Monday, April 2, 2012

Exponential/Log Function Review Day + Napier!

I've written before about how review days are a continual source of stress for me.  To review or not to review? that is the question.  And if to review, how do you make it interesting and beneficial for the upcoming test?  I have no profound answers yet.  But, I am putting a lot more time and effort into my review days now (mostly because I've taught College Algebra enough times so that I have the extra time to do that).

That said, I've been very much looking forward to this review day for quite some time.  The unit has been on exponential and logarithmic functions.  When I talk to my husband about this unit (who patiently listens to all my teacher talk--I found a really good man, let me tell you) he always reminds me, "It would be much less scary if it weren't called a LOGARITHM."

And he's completely correct.

So, I've been hyping up this review day nearly all unit:  "We'll talk about who invented logarithms, why in the world he did so (just to make your lives miserable?), and why they're called what they're called."

Here are the slides that took us through a short history of logs.  The SMART notes didn't convert perfectly to PowerPoint, but email me if you want the SMART notes as well.

I gave the students a sheet that corresponded with the notes so they could follow along.
After we went through John Napier's method of multiplying two numbers we worked the same multiplication on slide rules!  A few of my colleagues were kind enough (and...ahem...old enough) to loan me enough slide rules so that nearly every student could have his/her own for the day.
Next, as review for the test and as further proof of how quickly exponential functions grow, I had the class break into four groups and choose one of the following problems below.  I got the first problem from Ethan Siegel's blog.
Unit 4 Review Problems

We ended with a short wrap-up of the big ideas of this unit.

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