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ERIC Number: EJ1153984
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
A Graphical Introduction to the Derivative
Samuels, Jason
Mathematics Teacher, v111 n1 p48-53 Sep 2017
Calculus has frequently been called one the greatest intellectual achievements of humankind. As a key transitional course to college mathematics, it combines such elementary ideas as rate with new abstract ideas--such as infinity, instantaneous change, and limit--to formulate the derivative and the integral. Most calculus texts begin with the topic of limits before introducing the limit definition of the deriative and using it to prove derivative formulas. This introduction to the derivative is rigorous and mathematically sound, so it presents only one problem: students generally do not understand it (Davis and Vinner 1986). In this article, the author proposes an alternative approach to teach this. It begins with a graphical introduction to the derivative. This creates, the author surmises, the possibility for students to observe the main ideas in a less formal way and to engage in sense making that is more natural.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A