Questions tagged [calculus]

For questions applying to calculus courses. Topics include derivatives, integrals, limits, continuity, series, application questions, etc.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
6
votes
3answers
126 views

Good exercises that force you to apply the definition of the derivative, without explicitly telling you to do so?

I'd like to ask my students whether some real function is differentiable at a certain $x_0$. I prefer not telling them that they have to use the definition of the derivative, but to instead present a ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I sketch a good gaussian curve freehanded, or by using only common sketching tools?

I'm a lousy artist. If I want my Gaussian curves to be accurately drawn when I use a whiteboard, or work with pen & paper, what are my options? Is there a way to use a straight edge, or compass, ...
1
vote
1answer
172 views

Introducing direct substitution in an intro calculus course

I'm revisiting the materials I've put together for students taking a non-proof-based intro to calculus, and my goal is for them to have a clear but rough sense of a limit as a bound (basically enough ...
0
votes
3answers
263 views

How can I visualize differential equations and Integration in real life?

How can we understand differential equations and Integration in real life so that we can understand calculus easily. All we do here, at university level is memorize calculus and get the answer. We ...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

Nice examples of limits to infinity in real life

I have to teach limits to infinity of real functions of one variable. I would like to start my course with a beautiful example, not simply a basic function like $1/x$. For instance, I thought of using ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

More advanced (free) alternatives to Geogebra and Math3D?

I teach vector calculus. I love both Math3D and Geogebra. But I have reached a limit in terms of what these programs can do. Some examples of features that I wish Math3D had: Draw vector fields with ...
4
votes
4answers
222 views

Average Cost to Velocity Analogy

In my Business Calculus class (U.S. college-level), we discuss three aspects of cost: Total Cost $C(q)$, Marginal Cost $MC(q)$, and Average Cost $A(q)$ where $q$ is quantity produced. The defining ...
2
votes
1answer
277 views

Is Stewart Calculus a good book for AP calculus exam prep?

I have some background from completing Silvanus Thompson's book, but I didn't fully grasp the later chapters in it. I'm going to use khan academy and maybe other resources as a supplement. How useful ...
0
votes
1answer
243 views

Distance from the wall when reading a sign? A Calc I/II problem

Here is a question on a test I asked recently in a Calculus I class I teach on Saturdays. These are students who are planning to major in Math, and they are already taking AP Calculus BC in their high ...
0
votes
2answers
174 views

How to explain the difference between a constant function and a linear function?

Both function types contain a straight line on a plane, so if a student asks for the difference between them what would be a standard or recommended way to explain it?
-4
votes
2answers
176 views

What is the most fundamental continuous function in calculus after a constant (totally straight) line?

What would be to teach in most countries and education systems? (Taught before "high education frames", i.e. before doing bachelor of arts in mathematics).
0
votes
4answers
302 views

implicit differentiation, formula of a tangent line

I need to understand "implicit differentiation" and after that I need to be able to explain it to a student. Here is an example: Find the formula of a tangent line to the following curve at ...
7
votes
0answers
153 views

How to recognize possible dyscalculia in a student?

I am looking for input/advice regarding whether a student I just began tutoring may have dyscalculia - and, if so, how to go about broaching the subject / assisting them as best as possible. I'd ...
4
votes
1answer
304 views

Exponential & logarithm in a high school calculus class

So recently I was teaching high school calculus to a high school class and I was wondering about the pedagogically best way to make students actually understand why the derivatives of the exponential &...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

How can I effectively learn and master Math and Statistics for Data Science?

I completed a BSc in Computer Science recently and am going on to do an MSc in Data Science. However, the only focussed math module I had during CS was in the first year and I didn't do too well. I ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Is Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson a good book for first-time calculus learners?

Specifically the one updated by Martin Gardner. I'm not studying as part of a high school or college course (I, in the near future, will though) just as a personal project.
12
votes
16answers
6k views

How does one tutor an A-level student past the derivative paradox?

Background: I am new to this site, but have 1500 reputation on the main Maths Stack. I am (age-wise) a secondary student of maths, but for a very long time have been informally learning at home and ...
14
votes
8answers
6k views

Why is differential calculus often presented before integral calculus?

Why is differential calculus often presented before integral calculus? Note: I'm still learning calculus at the moment. It seems that many elementary calculus texts describe differential calculus ...
5
votes
1answer
210 views

Making the leap from Pre-Calculus to Calculus

This question is targeted at teachers who taught both low and high level mathematics. I have a group of students that I'm currently teaching precalculus and they seem to be doing really well in all ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

An introductory example for Taylor series (12th grade)

I (a student) am doing a presentation on Taylor series in my class (12th grade, in Germany if this is relevant). I am looking for a good example where you can see when Taylor series might be useful. ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

How to explain continuity and differentiability to highschool students? [closed]

I would say continuity is the idea that points numerically close to the input point of a function agree with the value of the function at that point. Now, suppose I introduce the idea of a derivative, ...
6
votes
2answers
562 views

Calculus limits taught in the US vs Spain?

So, I realize this can be a broad question, so I'll narrow it down. I have lived in Spain and own several Math textbooks from that country (the equivalent of 8th grade and high school Math). Has ...
4
votes
4answers
243 views

Showing applications of calculus to intro students

So I'm wrapping up my second year teaching high school calculus, and my first as an AP course. In addition to review, I'd like to end the year by giving the students a taste of the kinds of real-...
2
votes
4answers
401 views

Is it necessary to teach the definition of a limit for engineering majors? [closed]

I have always wondered whether it is necessary or not. For me, it seems that it is enough to teach them the intuitive idea, that is, limit is just an approximation of a certain process. what do you ...
8
votes
1answer
352 views

Grade on proving |$a_1 +a_2+...+a_n| \le |a_1|+|a_2|+... +|a_n|$

In an Advanced Calculus course, students were asked to prove $$|a_1 +a_2+...+a_n| \le |a_1|+|a_2|+... +|a_n|$$ for $n$ real numbers $a_1,a_2,...a_n$ I am teaching assistant for this course, and one of ...
12
votes
3answers
302 views

Are there any applications of $x^x$?

I'm teaching Calculus I. It's time for the derivative of $x^x$. In previous semesters, I've told students we mainly do this just for closure, so that we know that we can find derivatives of every ...
3
votes
2answers
202 views

Tabular Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

This semester in first-semester Calculus I've been trying to focus on how to do Calculus calculations when given a table of data since this seems to be of importance to science majors. There are ...
1
vote
0answers
60 views

History of business calculus/linear algebra curriculum

I will be teaching a combination of business calculus and business linear algebra, two classes that have been around awhile at my school. I’m assuming people are familiar with these types of classes. ...
7
votes
6answers
699 views

Distance Between Curves in First-Semester Calculus

In the optimization section of Calculus 1 a common problem is to find the minimum distance between a curve and a point. I'd like to extend this idea and be able to compute the minimum distance between ...
10
votes
2answers
433 views

Why are so many online sources "wrong" about directional derivatives?

I noticed many seemingly reputable online sources have "incorrect" description of directional derivatives for real-valued functions in several variables. Here, by "incorrect" I ...
9
votes
4answers
645 views

Why teach the algebraic Calculus?

In the context of a standard undergraduate Calculus sequence, I've noticed there is a big emphasis on teaching the algebra part of Calculus. What I mean by this is that a student may feel more ...
5
votes
2answers
222 views

Term for candidates for inflection points

The critical points of a function $f(x)$ are candidates for local extrema, i.e., if a function changes from increasing to decreasing, or vice versa, it must happen at a critical point. Is there an ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Are there any university programs that "supersize" calculus courses?

Most differential calculus courses begin with the theory (and analysis) of differentiation, followed by computations, and likewise integral calculus courses. That's a lot for a three credit course, ...
19
votes
11answers
5k views

Why do we still teach the determinant formula for cross product? And is it as bad as I think it is?

The cross product is an important vector operation in in any serious multivariable calculus course. In most textbooks that I'm aware of, right after the definition, we always introduce the ...
1
vote
1answer
313 views

Honors Precalculus: what topics to cut?

We’re precalculus honors teachers. In this year of Covid and reduced instructional time, what topics can we cut (Demana textbook) that would not hurt our kids in either calc AB or BC?
4
votes
1answer
262 views

Looking for a calculus books with very specific requirements

I plan to record lectures for a MOOC on Calculus sometime next year. The MOOC is targeted at an undergraduate audience that comprises engineers, math majors as well as majors in the sciences, etc. ...
11
votes
3answers
335 views

Usefulness of $u$-substitution in and beyond early Calculus?

My students, when presented with an integral (source) like $$\int (2x+2)e^{x^2+2x+3} \ dx$$ are apt to recognize derivative patterns like $u' e^{u}$ and reverse-engineer anti-derivatives rather than ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are differential equations considered calculus and included in a calculus class or is it its own class?

Are differential equations considered calculus and included in a calculus class or is it its own class? Also, if it is its own class then what calculus classes does it come after?
0
votes
1answer
252 views

Teaching Hours for AP Calculus AB [closed]

What are the estimated hours for teaching AP Calculus AB for students aiming for a 5? Similar question, how many hours of practice will the student need to put it. Some Clarifications based on ...
6
votes
3answers
257 views

Am I responsible to help a student who does not understand/know some prerequisites of a course?

I am teaching Calculus III this semester and a student signed up for this course after completed Calculus I and II in a different institution. I quickly realised that this student does not understand ...
3
votes
4answers
356 views

Teaching calculus in AP without the limit definition

Years ago as a college freshman I was taking my first calculus course. Another freshman skipped it because he had calculus in Advanced Placement in high school. I mentioned we were learning the limit ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Examples of real-life vector fields for vector calculus

My two main ones are Electrostatic force field $\mathbf{E}\left(\mathbf{r}\right)=\frac{Q}{4\pi\epsilon_0 \left|\left|\mathbf{r}\right|\right|^3}\mathbf{r}$ and Gravitational force field, $\mathbf{F}\...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

Appropriate context for teaching derivative (undergraduate/graduate)

(Repost from MO, where the question will eventually be closed.) This question is related to lectures I have to make concerning differential calculus in one variable, but the students are quite ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

Can we skip Newton's Method?

I am teaching an introductory calculus course for high school juniors and seniors. It is not formally described as an AP Calculus course, but it is supposed to map roughly onto Calculus AB. The ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

Low-tech ways of visualizing multivariable and vector calculus

One way, which is the most obvious, is do sketches of 3d shapes that tend to be the ones that we can all draw (like rectangle, cone, cylinder, sphere, etc.) Another way is by analogy so even if we can'...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Analogy for cylindrical shells

The analogy for cross-sections is easy since we can think of how slices of bread can make up a loaf. But what would be the analogy for cylindrical shells? Regarding shapes, apparently there's ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Are there direct practical applications of differentiating natural logarithms?

The textbook I am using to teach Calculus I includes in the exercises of most chapters a number of interesting real-world applications of the concepts from that chapter. However, the chapter on the ...
5
votes
2answers
228 views

What is a good way to teach Taylor expansion of multi-variable calculus?

I found teaching Taylor expansion for multivariable functions rather challenging. It is a bit complicated to prove and to to compute. So what happened to me last year was that my students simply ...
4
votes
5answers
849 views

What strategy for picking convergence tests for series do you teach?

Without getting bogged down in details, I'll list the names only. It seems that the strategy I generally use is this: Divergence test first Is it a recognizable form? p-series or geometric? a) No ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

When evaluating the limit of $f(x, y)$ as $(x, y)$ approaches $(x_0, y_0)$, should we consider only those $(x, y)$ in the domain of $f$?

When evaluating the limit of $f(x, y)$ as $(x, y)$ approaches $(x_0, y_0)$, we should or should not consider only those $(x, y)$ in the domain of $f(x, y)$ ? I am confused by different practices of ...

1
2 3 4 5
8