Working up to the derivative.

While limit is what makes all of the calculus work, people usually think of calculus as starting with the derivative. The first problem in calculus is finding the slope of a line tangent to a graph at a point and then writing the equation of that tangent line. Local Linearity is the graphical manifestation of…

Local Linearity II

Using Local Linearity to introduce difference quotient and the derivative. A good way to introduce difference quotients and derivatives is to write the equation of the “line” you see when you zoom-in on a locally linear function. First: Ask your class to use their calculator or computer grapher to graph a function, say y =…

Local Linearity I

Certain graphs, specifically those that are differentiable, have a property called local linearity. This means that if you zoom in (using the same zoom factor in both directions) on a point on the graph, the graph eventually appears to be a straight line whose slope if the same as the slope (derivative) of the tangent…