# π from Collisions

One of my sons sent me the link to the videos below. They show a very unusual way to find the digits of π. The problems and its two solutions show the connections and the interplay between mathematics and physics. The quality of the illustrations and the verbal explanations are excellent. Here are the…

# Asymptotes and the Derivative

What does an asymptote of the derivative tell you about the function? How do asymptotes of a function appear in the graph of the derivative? One of my most read posts is Reading the Derivative’s Graph, first published seven years ago. The long title is “Here’s the graph of the derivative; tell me about the…

# Unit 5 Analytical Applications of Differentiation

Unit 5 covers the application of derivatives to the analysis of functions and graphs. Reasoning and justification of results are also important themes in this unit. (CED – 2019 p. 92 – 107). These topics account for about 15 – 18% of questions on the AB exam and 8 – 11% of the BC questions.…

# Teaching Concavity

As you’ve probably noticed, different authors use different definitions based on how they plan to present topics later in their texts. So, the same concept seems to have different definitions. A definition in one book is a theorem in another. Students should be aware of this; looking at different definitions and related theorems about the…

# Graphing – an Application of the Derivative.

Graphing and the analysis of graphs given (1) the equation, (2) a graph, or (3) a table of values of a function and its derivative(s) makes up the largest group of questions on the AP exams. Most of the other applications of the derivative depend on understanding the relationship between a function and its derivatives.…

# Difference Quotients

Difference quotients are the path to the definition of the derivative. Here are three posts exploring difference quotients. Difference Quotients I  The forward and backward difference quotients Difference Quotients II      The symmetric difference quotient and seeing the three difference quotients in action.  Showing that the three difference quotients converge to the same value. Seeing Difference…

# Local Linearity

If you use your calculator or graphing program and zoom-in of the graph of a function (with equal zoom factors in both directions), the graph eventually looks like a line: the graph appears to be straight. This property is called Local Linearity. The slope of this line is the number called the derivative. (There are exceptions:…