Good Question 17

A common question in (older?) textbooks is to give students a function or relation and have them graph it without technology (because in the old days technology was not available). Students had to find all the appropriate information without hints or further direction: they were supposed to know what to do and do it. AP…

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,…

Then there is this – Existence Theorems

Existence Theorems An existence theorem is a theorem that says, if the hypotheses are met, that something, usually a number, must exist. For example, the Mean Value Theorem is an existence theorem: If a function f is defined on the closed interval [a, b] and differentiable on the open interval (a, b), then there exists…

Foreshadowing the MVT

The Mean Value Theorem (MVT) is proved by writing the equation of a function giving the (directed) length of a segment from the given function to the line between the endpoints as you can see here. Since the function and the line intersect at the endpoints of the interval this function satisfies the hypotheses of Rolle’s…

Summer Fun

Every Spring I have a lot of fun proofreading Audrey Weeks’ new Calculus in Motion illustrations for the most recent AP Calculus Exam questions. These illustrations run on Geometers’ Sketchpad. In addition to the exam questions Calculus in Motion (and its companion Algebra in Motion) include separate animations illustrating most of the concepts in calculus…