Date: Feb 16, 2005 9:50 AM
Author: Ross Clement
Subject: How to teach calculus

Hi. I'm curious to ask what methods people use to teach calculus in
school. It has been a long time since I was in school, and hence I
can't remember how I was taught. But, I cannot remember being taught
any way apart from basically rule-based. I.e. if we have an equation
f(x) = x^n then f'(x) = nx^(n-1). Note: my schooling was in New
Zealand.

I've been looking at SOS Math as a resource for CompSci students to
brush up on maths. I must say that for the introductory calculus
section, I really like the way that they teach it, first showing how
you can derive the rules for yourself, and then going onto the product
rule, quotient rule, etc., once the basic process makes sense.

http://www.sosmath.com/calculus/diff/der00/der00.html

Can I ask how calculus is taught in schools these days? Do people start
this way, or is it a matter of just introducing a rule such as the
derivative of x^2 is 2x, and expecting it to be memorised?

PS: I've noted some messages on this group bemoaning students'
attitudes to maths. At university level *some* students realise their
lack of maths is crippling, and do become more motiviated.

Cheers,

Ross-c


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