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Quadratics (Vertex Form) and Bacterial Growth

Quadratics (Vertex Form) and Bacterial Growth

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Published by gkrall
Activity in which students look at bacterial growth data to model a quadratic in vertex form.
Activity in which students look at bacterial growth data to model a quadratic in vertex form.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: gkrall on May 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Brief description
Students are asked to identify and develop vertex form of quadratic equations of preferred temperaturefor bacterial growth.
Entry Event #1
To the students of NT High,Every year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) tries to identify the particular strain of flu thatwill strike the United States and be the dominant strain of influenza for the season. As part of theidentification process, bacteria from other continents are collected and incubated at varioustemperatures. A particular, unidentified strain has been collected from South America during their fluseason and incubated. The table below shows the results of the tests.
Temperature (degrees C)Average Growth rate (%)
32635453866407043614721486We would like you to analyze the data as best you can and develop a mathematical descriptionof the relationship between temperature and growth rate of this bacterial.Sincerely,
 The CDC
Potential Guiding Questions / Need to Knows
What is the shape of this graph?
What is the equation of this graph?
What happens if temperature is colder than 32C or warmer than 48C?
What’s the maximum growth rate for this bacteria?
At what temperature would the growth rate reach exactly 0%?
Suggested activities
Students plot the data on large gridded paper and/or a graphical plotting program.
Students conjecture about the form of the equation.
Once students figure out the x
part of the equation, students experiment with differentexponential equations until they find one that fits the data.
Class discussion of student solutions and explanations.
Students present their findings in poster/power-point format and/or submit to ProjectBriefcase.
The data are derived from the quadratic equation,
By the end of this activity, students should be able to,
note that the equation has a squared in it,
note that the maximum occurs at (40, 70)
Entry Event #2
Students of NT High,Thank you for your recent work. You were able to identify that the temperature of 40 C wouldresult in the maximum growth rate of 70%. Below is some temperature/growth rate information wecollected for three other strains of bacteria by epidemiologists in South Africa, Australia, and Peru. Notethat the data obtained by the epidemiologists were transmitted to us in various formats.For each strain we would like you to identify the following:
The maximum growth rate.
The temperature at which the bacteria achieves the maximum growth rate.
The temperature(s) at which the growth rate for the bacteria reach 0%.
South Africa
Temperature (degrees C)Average Growth rate (%)
Scientists in Australia sent in this graph of Temperature vs. Bacterial Growth Rate.
Scientists from Peru sent this equation of their strain of bacteria.
 The CDC

Activity (2)

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