Tag Archives: Calculus

The Mathematics of Weight Loss

The picture below was taken in college when I was around my heaviest weight ever of 314 lbs.  I’ve always been a big person and I there is a lot that goes into why this is the case as well.  Was it the way I was raised?  Was it genetics?  Was it just me eating myself into a hole?  Well, this is not the place where I’m going to talk about that.


What I will say, though, is that this is the most recent picture of me a little over 70 lbs lighter than I was at my highest weight.  This is a blog post about math, so I’ll let you figure out my approximate current weight on your own.


With all of that out of the way, I’ll tell you what this blog post is really about.  I don’t really like talking about myself because I’m generally a very self-conscious person.  But this weekend I was thinking about what I might be able to do to share my weight loss journey with my students.  And the file below was created.  It’s a series of problems that I’ve created for my classes — one problem per class.

There’s problem for Linear Algebra, Calculus, Statistics, Beginning Algebra, and Math for Education.  The best part for me is that every problem asks a question about the same data set.  And it’s all based around the premise that I have a short-term weight loss goal that I’m trying to meet of 225 lbs by October 31, 2013.

Maybe this is a little bit over the top for what you might be willing to use with your own classroom, but it’s definitely a big step forward for me in talking about my weight loss publicly.  If I can’t talk about this with my students, what can I talk about, then?  Some of the fat jokes that I used to use in class don’t really work anymore.  Hey now!

The Mathematics of Weight Loss

Mind Maps for Calculus, Algebra, and Statistics

This semester I decided that I wanted to organize all of the resources that I’ve found on the Internet onto Mind Maps for my Calculus, Algebra, and Statistics classes.  There was just too much that I wanted to tell my students about every semester that it started to become too overwhelming to repost the links on my LMS every semester (my courses don’t ever seem to copy very well from semester to semester).  The results are below.  Feel free to share with everyone.

For the calculus map, bit.ly/calcmap

For the algebra map, bit.ly/algebramap

For the statistics map, bit.ly/statmap



‘Derive This Way’ Calculus Videos

These are both videos based on a parody of 'Born This Way' by Lady Gaga.  Personally, I don't like her music, but that's because I don't listen enough to the radio to know any of her songs.  However, I did find both of these videos very amusing in their own ways.  They were uploaded to YouTube only 1 day apart and of course, they are having their own little debate over whose idea came first.  Who cares!  Just enjoy the videos.
And by the way, I really am doing more than just spending my summer finding random YouTube videos about Calculus.  =D

An Array of Media — Video and Audio Clips

1.  JotForm Introductory Video

3.  Calculus Rhapsody (I know this isn’t new, but… a friend who is teaching Calculus this summer asked for a link.)

4.  Math:  It’s Everywhere

5.  A Short List of Great YouTube Channels

This Calculus Game Needs a Sweet Name… Any Suggestions?

I just finished this new Calculus game in anticipation of teaching a lesson on The First Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.  I’m looking to give it a good name.  Any suggestions?

Calculus Game.pdf
Download this file

Jing Video and notes to accompany my lesson:

View on screencast.com »

Download this file

Jing Video and notes for the Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus:

View on screencast.com »

Download this file

Download this file

GeoGebra and Applets for Calculus

Somethings I have learned just by being a little more observant.  One day last week I was sitting at a different table than usual at school, and it happened to be next to the bulletin board.  At the very top of the bulletin board was a flier that I had never seen before that had a list of two websites, one of them being Math Applets for Calculus at St. Louis University.  Personally, I have never been too big of a fan of applets, but most of these are really great.  There are four types of applets there: JCM Applets, Banchoff Applets, Geometer's Sketchpad Applets, GeoGebra Applets.

However, I was actually more interested in GeoGebra than the actual applets, since I had never heard of it before.  It turns out that GeoGebra is a free tool to create learning and teaching materials.  I played a little bit with the web-based version since I didn't really want to download anything that I wasn't so sure about.  And now I can see that it is a terrific resource that I will be using well into the future.  Of course, although I also like the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, I can't get over the fact that you need the Mathematica Player in order to be able to show the demonstrations in class.  And since I don't have the rights to download it in many of the buildings that I teach in, sometimes it is a fail for me.  GeoGebra is different since I can put the Applets directly onto my own webspace.

As a great introduction to using GeoGebra, I highly recommend checking out the video below, which will give you just a small taste of its power and might.  By the way, the guy in the video says GeoGebra incorrectly every time.  It's GEE-AHH-GEBRA, not GEE-O-GEBRA.  I found this out only because I watched another video from the creator of GeoGebra.  Sorry, just a pet peeve, just like when students pronounce EULER incorrectly.

Helpful Links for Teaching Calculus

Here is a list of helpful links that I compiled while teaching from “Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions,” 5th Ed. by Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards last summer.  These aren’t necessarily textbook specific, either.  Honestly, although it was just last summer, I was sort of still back in the dark ages and hadn’t yet made the jump into technology that I needed to.  But I can’t say that having these resources upfront wouldn’t help students.  Enjoy them, as I don’t post too much calculus stuff on here!

  1. Link to publisher’s website, click on “General Resources”.
  2. Link to Calculus Math Articles (I had students do article reviews for extra credit).
  4. Helpful Calculus Website (calculus.org).
  5. MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, everything you would want to know about almost any mathematician.
  6. Quick-and-Dirty Guide to the TI-83, TI-83+, TI-84, and TI-84+.
  7. FREE Calculus Videos, I approve these videos.  I think this guy is high quality.
  8. More FREE Calculus Videos, I also approve these videos.
  9. Link to website on Using Summation on Calculator.
  10. Wolfram Mathematica Online Integrator.
  11. Video Calculus at University of Houston.