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How has the value of the original iPod changed since it was announced in 2001? In this lesson students will compare linear vs. exponential decay, and will use eBay to explore how various products have depreciated over time. In the end, students will see which Apple products have depreciated the most and the least over time, and discuss what might account for the differences.

Students will

  • Write, evaluate, and graph linear models for iPod depreciation
  • Write, evaluate, and graph exponential models for iPod depreciation
  • Compare and contrast linear versus exponential depreciation models
  • Compare and contrast exponential depreciation models across different Apple products

Before you begin

Students should be able to solve equations involving exponents (e.g. if x5 = 40, then x = 401/5 ≈ 2.09). They should also be able to identify a function as linear or nonlinear.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

Additional Materials

  • Colored pencils (optional)


Apple, eBay