Category: Math by Subject

Calculus Songs!

Don’t ask me how I find this stuff… but it sure is fun to discover what’s out there! Here are 17 songs for Calculus (compiled by Lois Goldstein). I’m thinking we may have to go Calculus caroling in December! Possibly Related Posts: Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Collection of Math Games Math Game: Antiderivative Block Playing to Learn Math (new version) Calculus Tweetwars: The...

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Progress in Technology is EXPONENTIAL

Today I am forwarding you on to Ray Kurzweil’s Ted Talk “How technology’s accelerating power will transform us” This whole talk is about exponential trends. There are several beautiful log-plots of modern examples of exponential growth and decay. DNA Sequencing, World-wide-web, size of computers, Moore’s Law, evolution of technology, etc. He also talks about their research creating mathematical models to predict trends in technology. There is also an interesting segment in here on proposed nanobot red blood cells (tiny spheres that act as red blood cells, only more efficiently)… fascinating. Kurzweil predicts we will have succeded at reverse-engineering the human brain by the year 2020. By 2029… we won’t even see computers anymore. Computers will be integrated into our brains, clothing, and bodies. The merging of our brains with technology will provide us with the intelligence to evolve to the ability to understand our own intelligence. Just for the record, I will still be YEARS away from retirement in 2029… so while this might not concern you… I have to consider it a real possibility during my teaching career. How will we train a brain that integrates nanobots? Will that be considered “cheating” or no different than the use of a graphing calculator to assist in drawing a function? Yikes! I became curious about Ray Kurzweil after watching his talk, and spent some time poking around his websites

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Line Rider, in its infancy, had only one tool, the pen. With this tool, you drew your masterpiece curve (or piecewise curves), on which, the little hatted dude rides his sled. There were rules about the curves, when drawn left to right, the were riding curves, when drawn right to left, decoration… or something like that. However, the new version of LineRider has multicolored pens, an eraser tool (woo hoo) and now with the addition of the magical Jing program… I can easily record and share my masterpiece with you. If you watch my masterpiece, keep in mind that I have just nicely demonstrated two types of discontinuities in my work… removable discontinuities (the little dude just glides over the hole) and jump discontinuities (the little dude leaps from one part of the curve to another). LineRider can be an interesting and fun study in slopes for algebra students, asymptotes for pre-calculus students, and limits for calculus students. However, the true works of art are the ones created and set to music like these classic LineRiders all available on YouTube: (turn on your sound) Jagged Peak Adventure Urban Run Electronic Adventures LineRider SuperMario (okay… that one is really clever!) These are good for a 5-minute break in class… you know… for those students that refuse to get out of their seats and stretch… they might as well be entertained!...

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Dimenxian: “Learn Math or Die Trying”

This was a featured article in What is it? It’s an algebra game produced by Tabula Digita called Dimenxian. You can download a demo of the game on the Dimenxian website. They also provide a list of alignments to NCTM Standards for Algebra with the game. For the record, the website says there is a trailer for the game… but I can’t get it to work, so if someone else figures it out, please comment on how to do it. I have downloaded the demo and tried the first “mission” … but I think I need more practice moving around and navigating in the game. From my five minutes of trial, it seems 90% game and 10% algebra, but perhaps that’s just because I’m not good at it yet. I’ve got some time trapped in airports this weekend, so I’ll give it another go and see if I can’t find more algebra in it. The game also does not encompass all of the topics we teach in algebra (really, it seems to focus on topics related to graphing). But it does engage the students and they learn algebra (read the article, research on middle school students). However, I’ve been saying for a while now that college textbooks are only a few years from becoming multimedia experiences first, and books second (or not at all)… here is my evidence...

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Links to Calculus Flash Videos

A few people asked if I would create links to some of my Calculus videos. I use a variety of software to produce the videos… Camtasia, SnagIt, TI-SmartView, the Internet, Wolfram Demonstrations, PowerPoint, and whatever else happens to be helpful at the time. I’ve selected three of them (pretty much at random) for you to see. Please keep in mind that these are not “professionally produced” … I do not have time to go back and edit a word if I misspeak (although I could with the software I use, I just don’t have time… it’s hard keeping up with online calculus). These video lessons are my version of what takes place in the classroom, and just like on a whiteboard, I may occasionally make a mistake and correct it… well, hopefully I correct it! 🙂 Using Secant Slopes Limits and Vertical Asymptotes The Falling Lexus Example Before you watch the Falling Lexus Example, you ought to watch the “Falling Lexus Commercial.” The files are all zipped. When you unzip the file, choose the LARGEST file (the swf file) to run. You will need to have a Flash Player downloaded to watch. [Update 5/6/12: My videos are now all loaded on, recorded live with a Tablet PC, and produced with Camtasia Studio as an MP4.  I’m leaving this post here for perspective.] Possibly Related Posts: Contemporary Algebra Collection...

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