9
votes
4answers
842 views

Integrating Powers without much Calculus

I'll jump into the question and then back off into qualifications and context Using the definition of a definite integral as the limit of Riemann sums, what is the best way (or the very good ways) ...
5
votes
4answers
515 views

Multivariable Calculus Lecture Ideas

I am teaching a course in multivariable calculus this semester. We are covering the basics about $\mathbb{R}^n$, including dot products and cross products, curves, and quadric surfaces. After that ...
18
votes
9answers
4k views

How to motivate and present epsilon-delta proofs to undergraduates?

This would seem to be a common question, but I am surprised not to see it already asked and answered on MO! I am teaching an undergraduate course, and I want to teach them to construct basic ...
15
votes
8answers
6k views

Interesting Applications of the Classical Stokes Theorem?

When students learn multivariable calculus they're typically barraged with a collection of examples of the type "given surface X with boundary curve Y, evaluate the line integral of a vector field Y ...
8
votes
3answers
616 views

Reference for working with the implicit function theorem

I just had a student come to my office hours and ask me a ton of questions, the answer to all of which was "that's a slight variant to the implicit function theorem, which is proved by formal ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Freshman's definition of sin(x) ?

I would like to know how you would rigorously introduce the trigonometric funcions ($sin(x)$ and relatives) to first year calculus students. Suppose they have a reasonable definition of $\mathbb{R}$ ...
46
votes
29answers
29k views

Why do we teach calculus students the derivative as a limit?

I'm not teaching calculus right now, but I talk to someone who does, and the question that came up is why emphasize the $h \to 0$ definition of a derivative to calculus students? Something a teacher ...
17
votes
11answers
5k views

The role of the mean value theorem (MVT) in first-year calculus.

Should the mean value theorem be taught in first-year calculus? Most calculus textbooks present the MVT just before the section that says that if $f'>0$ on an interval then $f$ increases on that ...
12
votes
13answers
2k views

Applications of connectedness

In an «advanced calculus» course, I am talking tomorrow about connectedness (in the context of metric spaces, including notably the real line). What are nice examples of applications of the idea ...