Good Question 10 – The Cone Problem

Today’s good question is an optimization problem, but its real point is choosing how to do the computation. As such it relates to MPAC 3a and 3b: “Students can  … select appropriate mathematical strategies [and] sequence algebraic/computational processes logically.” The algebra required to solve this questions can be quite daunting, unless you get clever. Here’s the…

Good Question 9

This is a good question that leads to other good questions, both mathematical and philosophical. A few days ago this question was posted on a private Facebook page for AP Calculus Readers. The problem and illustration were photographed from an un-cited textbook. Player 1 runs to first base [from home plate] at a speed of…

Determining the Indeterminate

The other day someone asked me a question about the implicit relation . They had been asked to find where the tangent line to this relation is vertical. They began by finding the derivative using implicit differentiation: The derivative will be undefined when its denominator is zero. Substituting y = 0 this into the original…

Curves with Extrema?

We spend a lot of time in calculus studying curves. We look for maximums, minimums, asymptotes, end behavior, and on and on, but what about in “real life”? For some time I’ve been trying to find a real situation determined or modeled by a non-trigonometric curve with more than one extreme value. I’ve not been…