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MathGroup Archive 1996

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What is Calculus (the course) Was: Re: What is Mathmatica

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg3246] What is Calculus (the course) Was: Re: [mg3193] What is Mathmatica
  • From: fateman at peoplesparc.cs.berkeley.edu (Richard J. Fateman)
  • Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 03:23:08 -0500
  • Organization: University of California, Berkeley
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

In article <4g57cg$g5d at dragonfly.wolfram.com>,
Richard Mercer  <richard at seuss.math.wright.edu> wrote:

.... advises... you will
>learn Calculus in a *different* way that is not strictly comparable to  
>the "old-fashioned" way.

In my view the purpose of most college calculus courses is to 

(a) assure that the students have learned manipulation of algebraic
quantities by hand.

(b) assure that students understand the notion of a function and its graph.

There is a third purpose, too

(c) to convince people who can't hack it in calculus to take up
a non-technical major.


I believe that Mathematica helps in part (b).  So does a TI graphing
calculator that costs (both hardware and software) $19.95+tax.

I think this is independent of the calculus "reform" movement
of the last 15 years or so.


There  are other thoughts in the mind of the instructor, e.g.
the beauty of the concepts, the applications to science, etc.
These are pretty much lost on the students.
RJF

PS. I taught calculus sections when I was in the Math dept. at MIT.







-- 
Richard J. Fateman
fateman at cs.berkeley.edu   http://http.cs.berkeley.edu/~fateman/

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