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Topic: 10 year old girl aces CALCULUS&Mathematica
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Jerry Uhl

Posts: 339
Registered: 12/6/04
10 year old girl aces CALCULUS&Mathematica
Posted: Mar 6, 2002 12:56 AM
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This is from the father of a 10 year old girl learning calculus
through Calculus&Mathematica:

Bill Davis expressed interest in my daughter Sarah's study and
progress in Calculus & Mathematica. I'm delighted to share her

We have educated her exclusively at home, using the Internet to
search for likely candidate courses. Sarah, 10, who is in her fourth
year of education, is classified as an eighth grader (rather
arbitrarily) at The Clonlara School (Ann Arbor MI), where she is
officially enrolled. Before the Calculus course, she blitzed
elementary arithmetic in three years using John Saxon's SAXON MATH
series through "Algebra 1/2", the pre-algebra course. We calculate
she has done over 30,000 problems, working every exercise in each of
the eight books. She scored a 100% average on all exercises and

We planned that she would proceed naturally to Saxon Algebra 1
but Sarah developed other plans, unknown to us. She played with the
Internet over the summer and found Wolfram Research, where your
course is referenced and described on-line at the Ohio State U.
website. One thing led to another and she began to play with the
sample MEI downloads . Next thing we know she asked if she could
take the C&M course.

Thinking traditionally, I questioned whether she could do the work
without the usual Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry and Trig pre-requisites.
But I knew already she had demonstrated the necessary mathematical
maturity, and extraordinary abilitites with functions. I realized
that I could help her fill any knowledge gaps along the way. So we
agreed, acquired Mathematica and the MEI courses, and Sarah set sail
in C&M. She hasn't missed a beat since.

She finished Parts I and II, Growth and Measurement, and is
proceeding next to Part III, Taylor's Formula and Power Series.
Sarah hasn't missed a problem on any of the exercises or tests, and
has her usual 100% average. We expect that she'll finish the course
sometime before May. She plans to work on through the summer,
undertaking the Vector Calculus next; then follows Differential
Equations; and finally the Matrices, Geometry and Mathematica course.

Surprising as it may seem, Sarah's preparation has proven more than
adequate. Your course's extraordinarily clear presentation and rich
detail, when coupled with Mathematica, give Sarah an intellectual
bulldozer. She has enough experience with C&M that I can confidently
predict that she will progress rapidly through each of the other MEI

There is another, subtle key to Sarah's success, which your course
turns especially well. That is, it encourages an uncompromising
standard of excellence. Mathematica, as a programming tool, requires
exact instruction: else, as any program, it simply won't work. Sarah
has mastered Mathematica's syntax and the exacting skill of
expressing problems in it. Usually her expresions parse precisely
and work the first time. The degree of excellence she expects is
well-illustrated by an anecdote from her ballet class.

A tall girl for her age, Sarah towers over girls even two and three
years older than she. So she takes ballet mostly with 13- and
14-year-old girls. One day she overheard several of them complaining
of math test results in the low 90s, and wishing their teacher would
"lighten up". Sarah, who mastered the same math a year ago, listened
quietly but, discretely, said nothing. When she came home, she told
me what happened and then commented, "They don't seem to get it.
Either it's right or it's not right in Math...there's no middle
ground; either Mathematica expressions work or they don't -- the only
acceptable Mathematica result is 100%...period." I can't think of a
single course I had, even in college and grad school, that led me to
the same conclusion. Now, at age 10, Sarah has developed rare
maturity and discipline...largely due to your course's uncommon

On Sarah's behalf, Jayne and I give you our heartfelt gratitude and
salute you! Thank you for doing the impossible.

With our highest esteem and kindest regards,
Carmel-by-the-Sea CA
Jerry Uhl
Professor of Mathematics, Professor of Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Calculus&Mathematica, Vector Calculus&Mathematica, DiffEq&Mathematica,
Matrices,Geometry&Mathematica, ProbStat&Mathematica, NetMath ,, and

"If the activity of a science can be supplied by a machine, that
science cannot amount to much. . . It is precisely... the
mathematician who invented the machine for his own relief, and who
for his intelligent" ends, designates the tasks which it shall
-----Felix Klein

"Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an
accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a
-----Henri Poincare

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