Unit 4: Contextual Applications of the Derivative

Unit 4 covers rates of change in motion problems and other contexts, related rate problems, linear approximation and L’Hospital’s Rule. (CED – 2019 p. 82 – 90). These topics account for about 10 – 15% of questions on the AB exam and 6 – 9% of the BC questions. Topics 4.1 – 4.6 Topic 4.1 Interpreting…

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Seeing the Chain Rule

Being a believer in the Rule of Four, I have been trying for years to find a good visual (graphical) illustration of why or how the Chain Rule for derivatives works. This very simple example is the best I could come up with. Consider the function  . (See figure 1. A tangent segment at  is drawn.)…

Did He, or Didn’t He?

Since it’s soon time to start derivatives, today we look at one way people found maximums and minimums before calculus was invented. Pierre de Fermat (1607 – 1655) was a French lawyer. His hobby, so to speak, was mathematics. He is considered one of the people who built the foundations of calculus. Along with Descartes,…

Limit of Composite Functions

Recently, a number of questions about the limit of composite functions have been discussed on the AP Calculus Community bulletin board and also on the AP Calc TEACHERS – AB/BC Facebook page. The theorem that we would like to apply in these cases is this: If f is continuous at b and , then .…