understand calculus
September 17, 2010 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I've finished first year calculus (diff./int.), but I'm not sure I understand fully what I've learned. Can anyone point me to something, not too technical, that might help.
posted by larry_darrell to Education (11 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Are you looking for sample problems that you can work? Are you looking for a website that breaks down some principles learned in Calc I with examples?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:11 PM on September 17, 2010

Maybe this: Applications of Calculus - after your first year of calculus, you should be able to do all the things on this page. There's a bunch of other calculus-related stuff on that site as well.

Karl's Calculus Tutor has a huuuuge amount of free, elementary calculus information.
posted by muddgirl at 2:14 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

This was just on the radio today.
posted by Buffaload at 2:15 PM on September 17, 2010

I know this isn't exactly what you're looking for, but if I were you I'd read through the early chapters of your Calc textbook. When you first start learning something like calculus, it's easy to get caught up in the mechanics of getting the right answer and not thinking too much about what you're doing. Going back over it now, without the pressure of being in class, will probably help tie the concepts together.

This technique has helped me immensely, up to and including my graduate coursework. Things always make a lot more sense when you read them through the second time.
posted by auto-correct at 2:17 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine from college wrote a book called The Humungous Book of Calculus Problems for People Who Don't Speak Math. That might help. Amazon reviewers seem to like it a lot, though I haven't tried it myself.

(He also wrote the "Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus" if that's more your style.)
posted by richyoung at 2:21 PM on September 17, 2010

The wikipedia articles on math are sometimes very expository. Nothing makes trig "pop" like seeing the different functions in action. I think the calc one has similar demonstrations.
posted by gjc at 3:01 PM on September 17, 2010

I liked How To Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide and How to Ace the Rest of Calculus. The title and book covers might seem a little dorky, but I found the explanations to be friendly, funny, and very easy to understand. I feel that these two books were a tremendous help in learning the major concepts of calculus.
posted by sotalia at 3:02 PM on September 17, 2010

You'll have to use some google-fu cuz I'm not home atm, bit MIT, Yale and another ivy have a collaborative site with math and computer science (video lectures) interests on it. It has other inerests I'm sure but thet didn't concern me. I'll repost when home later. There's a specific youtube channel where a very capable teacher shows everything from basic to calc. Pretty sure I have 1 or both links at home.
posted by prodevel at 4:15 PM on September 17, 2010

Material from the Teaching Company, like this, can be found at libraries.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:44 PM on September 17, 2010

In college I went through calc 1, 2, 3, liner, diff. eq. and 3 calc-based physics.

I understood calc 1 about halfway through calc 2, calc 2 about halfway through diff. eq and calc 3 as soon as I took the final.

I'm a computer science major and this holds true for my classes now as well. I'm in my last year and I understand all the stuff I took last semester now better then I ever did during the semester.

I can't say for sure if this'll hold true for you, but this was my experience.
posted by irishcoffee at 8:48 PM on September 17, 2010

This might be a little too non-technical for what you're looking for, but after taking calc I and II, I read A Tour of the Calculus and came away feeling like I had a better understanding of and appreciation for what I had been learning about. It's pretty short and not a difficult read. The reviews on Amazon aren't great, but personally I'd recommend it.
posted by dreadpiratesully at 9:26 PM on September 17, 2010

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