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Questions tagged [infinitesimals]

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Would teaching nonstandard calculus in an introduction calculus course make it easier to learn?

Nonstandard calculus is a reformulation of calculus that is based on infinitesimals instead of epsilon-delta definitions. Of course, people had tried to use infinitesimals in calculus before; in fact, ...
214 views

Is it to the students' advantage to learn the language of infinitesimals?

A colleague of mine asked an interesting question reproduced below with his permission. It is reasonable to ask whether it is to the students' advantage to learn the language of infinitesimals - ...
1k views

Should we “program” calculus students, like the physicists seem to want us to?

If it is true that we first learn formalism...how to do things that we don't understand, should we regard teaching students mathematics as programming dumb machines with formal rules (to the greatest ...
473 views

Is there research for or against such an approach in teaching calculus?

Copying from Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus Thompson (2nd ed., 1914): CHAPTER I:TO DELIVER YOU FROM THE PRELIMINARY TERRORS The preliminary terror, which chokes off most fifth-form boys from ...
539 views

The 'epsilon-delta' method for teaching limits

Weierstrass' method for handling limits with the epsilon and delta symbols is very useful for rigorous analysis of math but it is terrible in terms of any intuitive approach to limits. There are are ...
704 views

Non-Rigorous Use of Differentials

Consider the following example of working "directly" with differentials. One way to approach the problem of determining the arc length of the graph of a single-variable function is to imagine the arc ...
962 views

Which universities teach true infinitesimal calculus?

My colleague and I are currently teaching "true infinitesimal calculus" (TIC), in the sense of calculus with infinitesimals, to a class of about 120 freshmen at our university, based on the book by ...
641 views

When should we get into limits in introductory calculus courses?

All of the calculus textbooks I've used (teaching at community colleges) start with the first chapter covering limits. (Perhaps after a review chapter.) I think this order is wrong. Historically, ...
412 views

Learning math through fun rather than rote learning

Is it easier to remember something if it is expressed in a funny and/or fascinating way rather than by learning through repetitious exercises that hopefully instill the necessary understanding ? The ...
1k views

Practical experience with teaching differentials in freshman calc?

There is a well known essay by Dray and Manogue which argues that differentials should be brought back into freshman calculus, and that we shouldn't worry too much about choosing a specific way of ...
801 views

Evaluating the reception of (epsilon, delta) definitions

Both education researchers and mathematicians discuss the challenge of (epsilon, delta) type definitions in real analysis and the student reception of them. My impression has been that mathematicians ...
All introductory calculus books that I have seen spend most of their chapters on differential calculus talking about derivatives, with at most a short section defining differentials as $dy = f'(x) dx$....