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 Discussion: Roundtable Topic: "Graphing Calculator" Software

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 Subject: Trig Functions and Derivatives Author: Gene Date: Sep 26 2003
I first reviewed the definitions of sine, cosine, and tangent, as a number of
students expressed anxiety about them. The applet I used to graph the trig
functions is to be found on
http://www.univie.ac.at/future.media/moe/galerie/fun2/fun2.html #sincostan/ and
called "graphs of sin, etc.". The surrounding applets are very good practice in
recognizing the graphs of functions, with trig fun following the graphs applet.

To get at the derivatives, I used the Derivative and Tangent Line Applet (see
that posting), but changed the given limits (were –pi to pi) to zero to 2pi.
Students then could guess the derivatives. We used the difference quotient
definition to get the derivative of sine, using Graphing Calculator (see that
posting) to see the limit of (cos h – 1)/h as h approaches 0. Then we used it to
shift over the sine function by pi/2 to get the cosine function, and applied the
chain rule.