Activity Overview
Students examine patterns and use these patterns to try to predict different aspects of an event. They study the statistical patterns for the population of the state of Nevada over a period of hundred years, and predict the population in the year 2010. Students learn to graph scatter plots, graph and analyze exponential functions, and interpret, estimate, and predict data.

Before the Activity

Use TI Connect™ to download Vernier EasyData™ application
See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
Print pages 15 - 22 from the attached PDF file for the class
Set up the calculator for data collection

During the Activity
Distribute the pages to the class.
Follow the Activity procedures:

Enter the data for the year and the corresponding population as lists
Create a scatter plot
Understand that the population is graphed as a function of the year
Realize that the shape of the plot is exponential, and resembles 'half a parabola'
Identify and predict an equation type that would generate the shape displayed on the graph
Perform an exponential regression and find the equation of the best fitting curve
Determine the correlation coefficient ( r ); and understand that closer the absolute value of 'r' is to 1, the better the equation fits the data
View the graph of both, the plotted points and the regression equation
Trace the graph of the equation and understand that the values to the right are the populations for the near future
Set up a table of these values and use the calculator to estimate the population of the state in the future

After the Activity

Students analyze the results and answer the case analysis questions on the student worksheet.
Review student results
As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
Re-teach concepts as necessary