Questions tagged [derivative]

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What are some examples of great functions that are not too elementary (easy)?

I am teaching precalculus/basic calculus to my class (high schoolers of around 18 years of age), and I'm always searching for nice functions to plot and study (finding the domain, the function's sign, ...
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3 votes
5 answers
1k views

Do we need to practice equation derivation while learning math if equations will be chunked and automatized?

When I was learning the Pythagorean theorem(at time A), I was just told to memorize it. I used it often before trying to derive the equation(at time B), and I think actually I have forgotten the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
158 views

Good Examples of Equations Derived from Elementary Calculus

I'm collecting additional enrichment content for my calculus students. I'm looking for examples of equations that are used in various fields, but which can be derived at least somewhat ...
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  • 919
8 votes
5 answers
354 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 ...
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8 votes
4 answers
520 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 &...
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13 votes
16 answers
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 ...
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  • 241
2 votes
0 answers
89 views

Locus of the maximal turning point and the point of inflection

Suppose you have a carton that has the form of a square with sides of length a. If we want to produce a box out of it whose height is x we might deduce the following formula: $$V_a(x)= x(a-2x)^2=a^2 x ...
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  • 325
5 votes
2 answers
227 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 ...
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13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Finding the Balance in a Math Question (Teaching)

As we try to work and teach in the midst of this pandemic, some problems arise when making online math exams. My question is simple: What could be an interesting basic differentiation question such ...
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  • 241
16 votes
6 answers
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 ...
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  • 361
2 votes
1 answer
334 views

In single variable calculus, do you distinguish between critical and singular points?

In some texts, a critical point is when the derivative exists and is zero, and a singular point is when the derivative does not exist. So I suppose, at $x=0$, $|x|$ would have a singular point while $...
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10 votes
5 answers
1k views

A different symbol for the indefinite integral/antiderivative?

Examples. An indefinite integral (or antiderivative) of $\cos$ is $\sin$: $$\int \cos = \sin.$$ Edit: There has been much unexpected confusion with the above statement. I define the above statement ...
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6 votes
4 answers
463 views

Ideas for the introduction of the derivative?

I want to introduce to my class to the derivative, but I am still searching for a good, realistic context that isn't too hard to understand, without seeming to be contrived. Do you have an ideas for ...
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  • 325
4 votes
4 answers
289 views

Introducing derivative concept and definition

I need to give a short presentation on introducing a class of engineering students to the concept and definition of the derivative. I'm to assume that the students are currently at the appropriate ...
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  • 183
12 votes
9 answers
4k views

How to explain what's wrong with this application of the chain rule?

Yesterday a student in my calculus class attempted something like this: Problem statement: Find the derivative of $3^{(5x+1)}$ with respect to $x$. Proposed solution: Let the inner function be ...
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6 votes
3 answers
166 views

Is there a point at which it makes decidedly more sense to learn about a "linear approximation" to a function, rather than a "tangent"?

I'm tutoring a first-semester calculus student, and we were looking over the slides the teacher has used. After teaching (or rather, repeating, for those who completed AP high school math) basic ...
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  • 818
1 vote
1 answer
193 views

Can $y^{(n)}$ be used as a way of representing higher order derivatives?

I have never seen this notation, but I think that it follows in a similar vein for function notation. So if $y=f(x)$, then $y''=f''(x)$. Then by that, can we say that $$f^{(n)}(x)=y^{(n)}$$
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6 votes
2 answers
294 views

Why most people think that :$(fg)'=f' \cdot g'$?

let $f$ and $g $ be two real valued function , I have asked many students what is the derivative of $(fg)'$ they answered me :it is $f' \cdot g'$, then I seek why most people (students) guess that ?
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4 votes
3 answers
3k views

When analytic form of derivatives is preferred over numerical form?

Is there a specific example when the analytic form of a derivative $\lim_{h\to 0}\frac{f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}$ is preferred to the numerical form $\frac{f(x+h)-f(x)}{h}$, $h \ll 1$? Are there cases when the ...
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