Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » calc_reform

Topic: Re: [CALC-REFORM:3146] Again, with EMPHASIS
Replies: 2   Last Post: Sep 21, 2004 11:26 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
nstahl@uwcmail.uwc.edu

Posts: 4
Registered: 12/8/04
Re: [CALC-REFORM:3146] Again, with EMPHASIS
Posted: Sep 21, 2004 11:26 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On 12/11/96 --- Mark (bridger@neu.edu) wrote:
I might add that the Harvard Consortium materials represent a
step backward in the notation and discussion of function. The
book begins with the absolutely worst definition of function
I have ever seen, and uniformly writes things like "Let P =
e^{-3t} denote population at time t." (Not even P(t).)

***
I have to disagree with that comment. I sincerely wish more texts
would use variable notation like that given above. One of the bad
things we often do in calculus courses is to only use function notation.

There are a lot of situations in the world where variables are more
useful. One good example involves velocity. In important situations
which occur in some of our classes, velocity depends on time or on
height. If we try to write v(t) and v(h) we abuse function notation.
If we write v as v(t) part of the time and as v in terms of h other
times it's confusion city for our students. If we just treat v as a
variable and use the various relations between v and t and h we get
along fine and our students learn valuable skills.

Mathematicians feel it is important for students to learn about
functions It is also important they learn to use variables,
which will be of value in other courses and in later life.
Why not do both? There is plenty of room for both notations in
our algebra and calculus books.

Neil Stahl




Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.