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Calculus
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 02:23   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Calculus

So, yeah, I'm taking calculus this semester...my first time ever. Now, I did well...no, I excelled in Geometry in high school. But calculus is going to be tough because I'm dyslexic. After two days in class, I'm already seeing where I'm going to have a hard time. So I'm soliciting help. Is there anyone out there who understands this discipline well who wouldn't mind if I bother them every now and then when I have a problem?

For what it's worth, I'd be glad to try to return the favor with other subjects (like Geology, Old Testament Religion or just writing if need be).

Thanks,
Aureus.
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 02:47   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aureus
So, yeah, I'm taking calculus this semester...my first time ever. Now, I did well...no, I excelled in Geometry in high school. But calculus is going to be tough because I'm dyslexic. After two days in class, I'm already seeing where I'm going to have a hard time. So I'm soliciting help. Is there anyone out there who understands this discipline well who wouldn't mind if I bother them every now and then when I have a problem?

For what it's worth, I'd be glad to try to return the favor with other subjects (like Geology, Old Testament Religion or just writing if need be).

Thanks,
Aureus.
... completely off topic, but is Dislexia the thing where you think in three dimensions?
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 03:27   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

Rorschach, that's about as productive as telling someone to wear shoes when they ask advice on marathon running :P.

Aureus - I've got a pretty good grasp of calc, having taken differential twice (high school and first year) and integral calculus once.

The biggest problems in getting help can be just understanding the notations that different people use; some teachers use dy/dx almost exclusively, others use f '(x), etc.

Calculus really can be a pain to grasp, but once you understand the basic concept of it, differentiation becomes second nature. Let me know if you need help.
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 03:28   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

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Originally Posted by Cameron
Rorschach, that's about as productive as telling someone to wear shoes when they ask advice on marathon running :P.
Actually, it's more like asking someone running it if the marathon is that really long race, but either way it's just as productive :P
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 03:47   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Calculus

I'm taking calc right now. Unfortunately, I have only Canadian experience. However, first year calc for engineering consists primarily of high school calc (not too hard) with a big side dish of proofs (very hard).

Mostly, calc in university is focusing on the analytical side of math, while high school math is focusing on geometry.
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 04:52   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

Calculus really is a whole year spent analyzing only one or two major concepts, as opposed to, say, Algebra I or II, where you learn a whole host of unrelated ideas.

If you really want to see if this will be difficult for you, go into Google or Wikipedia and search Derivatives and Curve Sketching, or something to that extent. If you understand it pretty easily, you should be golden.
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 07:54   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rorschach
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aureus
So, yeah, I'm taking calculus this semester...my first time ever. Now, I did well...no, I excelled in Geometry in high school. But calculus is going to be tough because I'm dyslexic. After two days in class, I'm already seeing where I'm going to have a hard time. So I'm soliciting help. Is there anyone out there who understands this discipline well who wouldn't mind if I bother them every now and then when I have a problem?

For what it's worth, I'd be glad to try to return the favor with other subjects (like Geology, Old Testament Religion or just writing if need be).

Thanks,
Aureus.
... completely off topic, but is Dislexia the thing where you think in three dimensions?
words become harder to read, you may mix letters up, you might be unable to grasp small letters, but read ok big letters.
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 09:49   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aureus
So, yeah, I'm taking calculus this semester...my first time ever. Now, I did well...no, I excelled in Geometry in high school. But calculus is going to be tough because I'm dyslexic. After two days in class, I'm already seeing where I'm going to have a hard time. So I'm soliciting help. Is there anyone out there who understands this discipline well who wouldn't mind if I bother them every now and then when I have a problem?
I'm more than happy to help as well. I understand it all well....at least I'd better do...I've got an exam on it in two hours and eleven minutes! :P
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 11:26   #9 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Calculus

Thanks guys! I'll add you as my buddies and PM if I have trouble. I've already looked through my book a bit and am pretty sure that this is going to throw me at some point. :-\ My inclination is always to try to find the answer on my own, however, with math, I know that sometimes it helps to have someone explain not only the principle of how they got their answer but also the logic behind it.

As for dyslexia...it's a learning condition (I hate the word disability as I'll explain below) in which your brain processes some information unconventionally (i.e. backwards, in this case). My guess is that before formalized education, this probably wasn't such a big deal. But at some point we (society) decided that everyone can learn the exact same way. Thus, people who learn differently end up with "disabilities". But, it's not a true disability (like blindness or deafness) because it's not like your brain doesn't work...it just works differently.

I'm currently carrying a 4.0 in university...so I'd hardly say I'm disabled. : But I only recently realized this trait I have. Up until now, I've compensated well. But understanding how my brain works has enabled me to move from being a 3.0 student in high school to a 4.0 student in university.

Here's an example. I struggled (literally to tears) in elementary school to learn my multiplication tables. Most kids simply memorize them. But that didn't work for me. For example, is 6x8 48 or 42...or was that 6x7? Stuff like that always screwed me up. But I came up with "patches" to make it work for my brain. For example, in the 9 tables, whatever 9 is multiplied by follows this formula: 9 x X = (X-1), (9(X-1)), now that's how I write it now. But as a elementary student, I would take 9x6, subtract 1 from 6 (5) then subtract 5 from 9 (4) thus my answer would be 54.

That's another trait of dyslexia...people with the wiring creatively compensate and build workarounds. This is why I say it's not a disability...because the workarounds often work just as well as the original methods. But the process of getting to the workaround can sometimes be hard.

Anyway, I hope that answered your question, Rorsharch.

Thanks again.
Aureus
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Old 14 Jan 2009, 18:19   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calculus

I've taken...a few semesters of calculus in college(currently taking Differential Equations). Like it was said above, calculus focuses on two or three core subjects and their applications/extensions. In practice, your first calculus class will focus on something called a derivitive; which is basically the change of a graph vertically as the change horizontally becomes smaller and smaller. Or in slightly simpler terms, it's a graph's slope for any point.

The derivation isn't difficult:
[spoiler]Look at the graph of an equation. Find a point on the graph; I'm going to be generic and say you choose the point (x1, y1). The reason being that this way, it applies to ALL graphs which are continuous and "smooth"(you'll learn what those mean later in class, but in general, as long as the graph's one piece and there aren't any "rough" points on the graph, it's fine).

From the chosen point(x1, y1), go a distance h along the parallel to the x-axis so you are at the point (x1+h, y1). Now you draw a straight line from the new point(x1+h, y1) to the original slope. You now have two lines which intersect eachother at exactly a 90 degree angle, and then you have your original equation, which both lines intersect(at some odd angle in most cases).

Now, the slope of a line is it's "rise" divided by it's "run"; or more precisely, it's change in y divided by it's change in x. To get the change in y, you subtract the y-values of the equations at both points(at x1 and x1+h. So if you had started on (1, y), and went a distance h=2, your two x-values to plug into the original equation would be x=1 and x=3. Then subtract, and that gives you change in y. These will be denoted by f(x1) and f(x1+h) later.

Change in the x direction is much simpler; it's only where you started subtracted from how far you went; in this case, your final destination is x1+h, and you started from x1. it would be x1+h-x1. The x1's both subtract eachother, leaving you with only an h for the change in x.

When you divide these two answers, you get the basic form of a derivitive:

[f(x1+h)-f(x1)]/h

This will give you an average slope, which works well enough for your run-of-the-mill equations which have a single-power variable(y=mx+b type equations, so y=x+3 or y=-x+2 or y=24x-8), but for equations such as y=ax^2+bx+c, an average gets worse and worse the bigger h becomes. To find h, you do something called taking the limit; which is you imagine following the line on both sides of a point on a curve, towards that point(so imagine you and a friend walk down a line towards eachother. Where you hit is where you're taking the limit of). In this case, you're taking the limit of h, as h approaches 0(so you're making a very small rise/run triangle near the point where you're finding the slope of).

it's written like this:


[/spoiler]

I find calculus helpful with other courses(such as physics; they're mostly the same once you get into higher-level physics, but calculus is generally the nitty-gritty of how to do the math, and physics is the application imo). It also takes some getting used to. Calculus in itself is pretty straight forward, imo the hardest part is getting out of an algebraic mindset and re-learning how to think about math.
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