Newton’s Cooling Activity A CALCULUS MURDER TRIAL
Inspired by Joel S Foisy SUNY Potsdam

A murder has been committed: Location: Outside School Building Victim: Teacher Suspect: A student Motive: No more calculus tests Murder weapon: Syringe filled with undisclosed poison. Time of Death: Unknown Date:



(1.) Suspect was seen at the cafeteria until 7 : 50 am. (2.) Syringe has Suspect’s fingerprints. (3.) The body temperature at 8 : 10am was 96o , and at 8 : 16 was 95o . (4.) Official temperature this morning is 27o at 7 : 00 am, 31o at 8 : 00am, and 37o at 9 : 0am. (5.) Doctor confirms that teacher had a fever of 101o yesterday. (6.) Poison is found in bloodstream along with aspirin. It is not known if the amount of aspirin is enough to affect fever. Activity: [ 50 points : QUIZ] Defense Team: Prosecution Team: Media Commentary: Jury: Judge: Teacher

Justification must be made to the jury and judge while you are presenting. Media Commentary: You will present Newton’s Law of cooling in a way the public can understand. Each team will provide a written argument to the dead teacher. Points are awarded based on the amount of math that is used to prove your argument.) Prosecution Rebuttal (6. Verbal Justification. estimated temperature outside? Jury: You will listen to all arguments and decide whether the suspect is guilty or innocent.6 Objective Students will use their knowledge of differential equations to narrow the time of the murder. Anticipate the attacks the prosecution might have.6o . that will force the students to change the ”book” formula for Newton’s law of cooling which allows for only a constant surrounding temperature. they must decide whether they will model the temperature with a function. and the analysis of the other team’s mathematics. This requires some exponential regression.) Prosecution Closing Arguments (9. find an average temperature using integrals.) Prosecution Opening argument (3. This activity is flexible in that the teacher can make it as challenging as he or she wants. Try to imagine what the defense tactics will be. You must make a mathematical argument during your oral presentations. They must also analyze the mathematics other teams and find a margin of error to convince the jury. and find when the temperature was 98.You want to establish the suspect’s guilt in the jurors minds using Newton’s law of cooling. Since the surrounding temperature is variable. they would need to find a function which models the body temperature of the victim.) Defense Rebuttal (7.) Media Commentator (5. and be ready with counterarguments. Prosecution: You will give your opening argument first. Anticipate the defendants arguments in your opening argument. The presentation must contain the mathematics you are using to argue your case. Try to restrict yourself to mathematical arguments. Due to the unknown initial body temperature.) Defense Closing Arguments (10. or use an integrating factor to solve the murder outright. the accuracy of said math.1 Presentation Each section should be 3-7 minutes long.) Media Commentators read the facts and present Newton’s Law of Cooling. Citing a written document does not count as justification. Students will either have to use separable differential equations to find upper and lower bounds for the time of murder. Provide mathematical reasons for your decision.) Jury decision and Media 6.) Defense Opening argument (4. must be convincing enough to influence the jury and the judge. 6.6. .5 Students Expectations Defense: You will have to use Newton’s law of cooling to establish reasonable doubt to the jury. What is the actual initial body temperature. (2. The problem has many twists. as well as written. or approximate values with Euler’s method.5.) Media Commentator (8. however. that sweet little Emily could have possibly killed me. (1.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful