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What is calculus? What is Scientific Notebook? How do I navigate? How do I get help? What are explorations? Self tests Pop-up notes Questions and answers

What is calculus?

Calculus is the mathematics of change. It is a dynamic subject that originated in the study of motion.

Calculus deals with approximations. When measuring rates of change, we often use approximations. We say that the rate of change is the limit of the approximations. Some examples of approximations are measuring the steepness of a curve by approximating it with short straight lines, estimating the area enclosed by a curve with small rectangles or triangles, approximating an infinite sum with finite sums, and fitting a polynomial to a curve.

Calculus deals with ideas that mathematicians and scientists have pondered for centuries: areas and volumes, rates of change, the orbits of planets, infinite sequences.

The study of calculus is an adventure. The computer algebra system in Scientific Notebook allows you to explore examples and carry out experiments so that you can see what calculus is all about.

Copyright © 2008 Diane Davis, Darel Hardy, Fred Richman, Carol Walker, Robert Wisner. All rights reserved. Except upon the express prior permission in writing, from the authors, no part of this work may be reproduced, transcribed, stored electronically, or transmitted in any form by any method.