Friday, September 11, 2009

Calculus in 20 Minutes



Part 2 here.

14 Comments:

At 9/11/2009 7:29 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Very trippy.

 
At 9/11/2009 8:23 AM, Anonymous geoih said...

I've heard it said that the way calculus is taught today is over comlicated (and I agree).

Instead of teaching it as if everybody will be going on to get a Phd in math, it should be taught much like this video. Here's the product rule, here's the chain rule, etc.

If somebody is actually going to be a math professor, then they can learn all of the theory and proofs. For the rest of us, I'll just take your word for it that it works.

 
At 9/11/2009 9:35 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

This is basically the way calculus was taught to me at the University of Washington. Business students had their own version of calc as a requirement. It was the only math course I didn't suffer through since junior high school. I admit it was probably much easier but it did provide clarity for practical useage.

 
At 9/11/2009 10:03 AM, Blogger Paul Snively said...

Folks interested in calculus should also read Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson and updated by Martin Gardner.

 
At 9/11/2009 12:20 PM, Anonymous geoih said...

Quote from Paul Snively: "... also read Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson and updated by Martin Gardner."

I agree, Also try "Calculus for the Practical Worker" by JE Thompson (no relation to SP Thompson). Unfortunately, it's out of print, but many libraries have it, and it can be gotten used.

 
At 9/11/2009 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that the calculus really is about teaching logic and methods of proof not calculating. You need this to understand physics since an awful lot of physics is based upon mathematical derivation from a few principles (at least as taught generally Feynman did it differently). Perhaps this does suggest more tracking in colleges those going into physical science etc need the rigorous course, less as noted for the business major.

 
At 9/11/2009 9:48 PM, Anonymous AlsoAnonymous said...

Anonymous:

It might be different nowadays, but when I was in calculus class, it wasn't about teaching logic or methods of proof. It was about washing out freshmen.

I doubt very much that it has changed. I saw NO teaching of any kind in any of the calculus classes I took... of logic or anything else.

What I did see (multiple profs) was unexplained equations written on the board, students called names, barked at, belittled, exam dates shifted around, mind games played, and great laughs had at the expense of the "stupid".

Basically it was a cross between the stereotype of boot camp and a fraternity hazing. Little math and no teaching occurred.

Even the chosen text books lacked explanatory text and rather than containing illuminating problem sets which would illustrate approaches to solving problems they were obsessed with "gotcha" problems -- those which introduced some subtle element of an unrelated concept in order to trip up the student while contributing nothing to the concept being discussed.

I have seen no evidence that this has changed. I lack the education to be sure that calculus is actually the magical, beautiful, powerful tool that it is claimed to be, but if it is, what a tragedy that so much human potential is wasted every year as bright young students are abused and forced out of most disciplines and occupations.

 
At 9/11/2009 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Answer AlsoAnonymous: What is proof but applied logic. Now perhaps I am conflating advanced calculus with introductory calculus. (In addition the class being 40 years ago may make a difference). I suspect a large part of the difference might relate to the major you took. Since I took physics and went to grad school in geophysics it may make a difference (Note that effectively by the time I was done I had a math major). The point is that the ability to derive things is critical to understanding physics as taught, the issue may well be that the teacher does not understand at the fundamental level that Feynman did (See the lectures on Physics)

 
At 9/12/2009 10:29 AM, Blogger tom said...

At 9/11/2009 9:48 PM, Anonymous AlsoAnonymous said...

I can add lectures in an auditorium built to hold 1000 at 7:00AM three days a week by a professor who scribbled equations on overhead projectors (2) fed by rolls of clear acetate to facilitate speed. Attendance was taken...
Additionally, "recitations" where the TA spoke with such an accent that it was almost comedic.

It was THE flunkout mechanism at PU in the late 60's.

tomw

 
At 9/12/2009 1:59 PM, Blogger 1 said...

From the thinkwell blog site we have the following: Overview of Economic Systems

A blog site that's almost as studley as Professor Mark's site...

 
At 9/12/2009 1:59 PM, Blogger 1 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/13/2009 12:44 PM, Anonymous Motown Dude said...

I'm not sure what the goal of this video was, exactly. But if it was to explain (or even describe) calculus to the typical uninformed viewer, it doesn't work. There is way too much assumed knowledge involved out of the gate. In other words, it's not actually "calculus in 20 minutes." It's just 20 minutes of calculus that picks up somewhere in the middle of the process.

Don't get me wrong: It's a fun little clip, just not what I thought it would be. Obviously, my preconceptions could be the problem here.

 
At 5/25/2010 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to be a great review, though! Although it takes me a second to process what he's saying (since he's talking so fast), I find I'm recognizing concepts. Not good as a teaching tool for someone who's never taken the class before, but as a brief review it could be a help (in conjunction with other resources, of course). I wish I could find the full version!

 
At 8/23/2010 10:32 AM, Blogger hank said...

Hello,

I'm Hank over at Thinkwell and I just wanted to comment to Anonymous above to let folks know that there is a full 20-minute version available for free at
http://www.thinkwell.com/a/calculusin20minutes.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for watching the video! We love seeing people enjoy it and find it useful for review.

Hank @Thinkwell

 

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