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2013-12-02 Product Rule, Why You Should Believe It

2013-12-02 Product Rule, Why You Should Believe It

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Published by: samjshah on Dec 02, 2013
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12/04/2014

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 NAME D
ATE
B
AND
P
RODUCT
 R 
ULE
: W
HY
 Y
OU
 S
HOULD
 B
ELIEVE
 I
T
C
ALCULUS
 | P
ACKER 
 C
OLLEGIATE
 
INSTITUTE
We learned – and by learned, I mean your teacher told you – that if you have the product of two functions,
()()
 y f x g x
=
, then we know the derivative is:
' '( ) ( ) '( ) ( )
 y f x g x g x f x
= +
 Now let’s think about what this means. We are saying that the rate of change of the entire product!the rate of change of the "st f#n$!the %nd f#n$&!the rate of change of the %nd f#n$!the "st f#n$I hope to give you
three ways
 to understand it.
First
, a
conceptual
 reason why you should believe it’s true.
Second
, some concrete e#amples to show you how it already works with what you know. 'nd
third
, an algebraic proof using the formal definition of the derivative.
Section 1: A conceptual understanding
(et us imagine a scenario where a product is a natural thing. (et’s imagine that you are investing in a stock which is changing its price over time. (et
()
 f
 be the number of shares of stock you have at time
, and let
()
 g
 be the price of each share at time
.  )he total value of your portfolio at time
 is *****************************.(et’s imagine you want to see how the value of your stock is changing over time. )here are
two things
 that affect it. +ou have the number of shares of stock you have, which can increase or decrease over time depending on if you buy or sell. 'nd you have the price of the stock, which changes with the market. (et’s imagine you are investing in 'pple.
 +ou buy -- shares of the stock at //0.  )he total value of your portfolio is  ****************************.' minute later, you reali1e you want 2ust a bit more stock. +ou buy "- more shares of stock. 3owever the price of the stock is now /0-. )he total value of your portfolio is  ****************************.
Now remember what our goal was4 it was to find
the rate of change
of the value of your portfolio. I am going to argue, graphically, that the
rate of change
 of the value of your portfolio is going to be:!the 567 of the number of shares of the stock$!the price of the stock$& !the 567 of the price of the stock$8!the number of shares of stock$
1
 
&
a tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny bit that won’t really matter 
(et’s look at what’s going on graphically4't the beginning46ne minute later4Now look at
'()'()()'()()
ValueOfPortfolio t f t g t g t f t 
= +
 )hat tiny tiny tiny amount is something we won’t worry about. 9or derivatives, we are talking about taking two points which are
infinitessimaly 
 close to each other, meaning the time interval is infinitely short. 5ight now our interval is " minute. It turns out that when you look at things rigorously !which we will do with the proof below$, that the tiny tiny tiny amount will go to 1ero. (imits, and all that. )his is
not
 a rigorous proof. ut it suggests in a conceptual way why the derivative of the product of two functions has the form it has.
Section 2: Concrete Examples
We are going to find a few derivatives both
with
 and
without 
 the product rule. +ou will see that the product rule matches what we e#pect it to be.9ind the derivative
without
 the product rule9ind the derivative
with
 the product rule !underline the first part of the product and the second part of the product$
( ) ( )
5 2
()5
a x x x
=
 
( ) ( )
5 2
()5
a x x x
=
()
b x x x
=
 
()
b x x x
=
2
 
()2
 x
c x e
=
 
()2
 x
c x e
=
3 5
()(2)()
d x x x x x
= +
 
3 5
()(2)()
d x x x x x
= +
2
()6
 j x x
=
 
2
()6
 j x x
=
()(2)(6)
k x
 =
 
()(2)(6)
k x
 =
3opefully you see for the functions above that the product rule
works
. 'nd hopefully you see that for these functions, the product rule isn’t faster or more useful than what we already know.;o why might we want the product rule< )ry to find the derivative of the functions below
without
 the product rule and you’re in trouble= >o you see why<
So use the product rule and find the derivatives
3
()(2)
 x
m x x x e
= +
()
 x x
n x e e
=
2
( ) sin( )
 p x x x
=
 ?and I’m letting you know that the derivative of
sin()
 x
 is
cs()
 x
@
( )
 2
()sin()
q x x
=
 
3

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