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Historical Activities for the Calculus Classroom

Gabriela R. Sanchis (Elizabethtown College)

The history of the calculus is a fascinating story, inspired by the search for solutions to interesting problems.  We do our students a disservice when we fail to share with them some of this exciting history.  During 2005-07, with support from the National Science Foundation, I developed modules for teaching calculus concepts in a way that integrates the historical evolution of these concepts.  This article contains three examples, which include several interactive applets produced using the software GeoGebra, a free, open-source software package.  In addition, many of the exercises provided require GeoGebra and/or a computer algebra system (CAS) such as Maple, Mathematica, or a Texas Instruments (TI) Voyage 200 calculator.

Module 1:  Curve Drawing Then and Now

Module 2:  Tangent Lines Then and Now

Module 3:  Optimization Problems Then and Now

Editors' note:  This article was originally published in Convergence in August of 2007.  We are pleased to "reprint" it in June/July of 2014 with GeoGebra applets hosted by GeoGebraTube.

Gabriela R. Sanchis (Elizabethtown College), "Historical Activities for the Calculus Classroom," Convergence (August 2007)