This is a small course project. The object is to get students trained with data fitting in Matlab using real data available from GapMinder. The project will be in three steps:
Step 1: Using population data of US from year 1820 to 1870 (50 years), fit it to an exponential model
Step 2: Extend the data to year 1920 (100 years) and student will see that exponential model won’t fit very well. Then we introduce Logistic model and ask them to try to fit the data again.
Step 3: Extend further to data up to year 2010. Discuss the drawback of Logistic model and how we can improve it.
Then as an assignment, students will be divided into groups to fit data from different countries. Data from Sweden can be used as another example since there are enough population data from Gapminder.
As a longer term project, students can be asked to develop an ODE model to take the other parameters such as birth rate, motality, and life expectancy into consideration.
Update: Here is the file for some slides I made for this project.