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6.

3 Introduction to Exponential Functions


This is a set of guiding questions for creating your own lesson plan on how to identify,
construct, and analyze simple exponential functions.

Learning Objectives
 To identify, construct, and analyze simple exponential functions.

Guiding Questions
 In the story about the legendary origins of chess in India, the following problem is
posed:
If a chessboard were to have wheat placed upon each square such that one
grain were placed on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and so
on (doubling the number of grains on each subsequent square), how many
grains of wheat would be on the chessboard at the end?
 Can we graph the data? How?
 Is that a function?
 What is a function? What is a relation?
 What would happen if instead of doubling the amount of grains of wheat we would triple
it? Quadruple it?
 Why do all of those graphs intersect at x = 0?
 What would happen if we had a giant wheat of grain we could cut in half from square to
square? How small would the last piece be?
 Can we graph that? How does it differ from the previous graphs?
 What happens if we consider negative values of x?
 What happens if the base is 1? What if it is 0?
 What can’t the base be negative?

Notes for Teachers


 You may want to graph those functions using an online graphing calculator, like the
Desmos. You can graph several graphs with different colors on the same coordinate
axis.
 If you do so, you may want to restrict the domain of the exponential functions to non-
negative real numbers. Alternatively, you may show only the first quadrant and show
the entire plane after expanding the domain to include negative numbers.

Video of the Day


 6.3.1 The Invention of Chess and 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + ⋯ + 263 = 264 − 1
o Description: Old legend about the invention of chess
o Tags: problem-solving, history of chess, India, series
 6.3.2 Analyzing exponential functions with different bases using the online Desmos
graphing calculator.
o Description: We demonstrate how the online Desmos graphing calculator can
help students understand the behavior of some exponential functions.
o Tags: exponential functions, exponential equations, Desmos, graphing calculator

Online Sources
 Khan Academy: Introduction to Exponential Equations