Fellow Math Profs, I need your help!

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Quote from: conjugate on February 19, 2013, 11:41:30 am

If you have access to Maple or Mathematica, have them plot surfaces of various sorts (such as cos ( √(x + y) )/√(x + y) or some nice polynomial with a few extrema).  Have them manipulate the surface plots (you can do this in Maple, at least; I don't know about more recent versions of Mathematica) to get a clear picture in their minds.

Now, having given them a surface and a point (a, b), ask them to figure out in what direction a golf ball placed on that surface above that point (a, b) would roll.  That seems to me to help clarify the concept of gradient.  Then observe that placing the ball on another, nearby, point on the surface would change the direction of the roll slightly.

Any good?

Sounds like a great idea to me.

Have you pillowed through Vi Hart videos on YouTube for ideas?


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