Extreme Polar Conditions

Looking at the graphs of polar curves can be quite fascinating. Doing “calculus” kinds of things is different, yet the same as in Cartesian coordinates. A discussion on the AP Calculus Community here  got me thinking about extreme values of polar functions. The terms maximum and minimum here refers to the value of r(θ) which…

Polar Equations for AP Calculus

A recent thread on the AP Calculus Community bulletin boards concerned polar equations. One teacher observed that her students do not have a very solid understanding of polar graphs when they get to calculus. I expect this is a common problem. While ideally the polar coordinate system should be a major topic in pre-calculus course,…

Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Valued Functions – Unit 9

Unit 9 includes all the topics listed in the title. These are BC only topics (CED – 2019 p. 163 – 176). These topics account for about 11 – 12% of questions on the BC exam. Comments on Prerequisites: In BC Calculus the work with parametric, vector, and polar equations is somewhat limited. I always…

Polar Equation Questions (Type 9)

AP  Questions Type 9:  Polar Equations (BC Only) Ideally, as with parametric and vector functions, polar curves should be introduced and covered thoroughly in a pre-calculus course. Questions on the BC exams have been concerned only with calculus ideas related to polar curves. Students have not been asked to know the names of the various…

Parametric Equations and Vectors

In BC calculus the only application parametric equations and vectors is motion in a plane. Polar equations concern area and the meaning of derivatives. See the review notes for more detail and an outline of the topics. (only 3 items here) Motion Problems: Same Thing Different Context (11-16-2012) Implicit Differentiation of Parametric Equations (5-17-2014) A…

Polar Equations

Ideally, as with parametric and vector functions, polar curves should be introduced and covered thoroughly in a pre-calculus course. Questions on the BC exams have been concerned with calculus ideas related to polar curves. Students have not been asked to know the names of the various curves (rose, curves, limaçons, etc.). The graphs are usually…

February 2016

As I hope you’ve noticed there is a new pull-down on the navigation bar called “Website.” For some years I’ve had a website at linmcmullin.net that lately I’ve been neglecting. I decided to close it in the next few days, and therefore, I move most of the material that is there to this new tab. The…