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Engineering Calculus Peer Led Session Tangent Lines II Reference: Sections 2.1 and 2.

2 Pre-Assignment Complete questions 1, 2, and 3 below, read the "Why" section and do questions 1 and 2 of the activity. Simplify the following expressions. 1) xh2x 2 h


x x2 x 2 x

t t t
3) t

Why? Population growth rates, the cooling of a bodys temperature, and the velocity of a moving object are all examples of rates of change. How to measure a rate of change is one of the central questions of calculus. It is easy to interpret the rate of change of data when the function that models it is linear: the rate of change is the slope of the line and is the same at every point. But what if a function is not linear? The rate of change can be different at every point. In this activity, we will investigate these instantaneous rates of change.


1) The graph above shows the function d = 3 t 2 , the model of the distance d in meters a car travels in t seconds. (a) Add points to the graph that represent the distance the car has traveled in t = 2, 3, and 4 seconds. Label these points P, Q2 , and Q1 respectively. (b) Draw a straight line that goes through the points P and Q1 then draw another straight line that goes through the points P and Q2. 2) By simple inspection (that is, without doing any calculation) determine which line PQ1 or PQ2 has a slope that gives a better estimate of the velocity of the car at tP = 2. Explain your reasoning.

3) Mark a point Q3 on the graph that you could use to calculate an even better estimate of the velocity at tP = 2. 4) Describe in words the location of a point Q that would allow you to calculate the VERY BEST estimate of the velocity at tP = 2.

5) All of the lines PQ1, PQ2, and PQ3 are known as secants. A secant is a line through point P on a curve and another point Qn on the same curve. The following formula for calculating the average velocity of the car is also the formula for calculating the slope of the secant line:

v ave =
Verify this fact for n = 1.

d Q d P

t Q t p

rise = slope run

6) Explain why the formula in question 5 cannot be used to calculate the velocity at time tP = 2. (This velocity is called the instantaneous velocity at tP = 2).

7) Using the concept of limits come up with a definition of instantaneous velocity at tP = 2.

8) Suppose g(t) represents distance traveled as a function of time, t. The notation g ' t denotes instantaneous velocity at time t. Given the graph of g below, arrange the following numbers in increasing order and explain your reasoning: 0, g ' 2 , g ' 0 , g ' 2 , g ' 4

y t y = g(x)


x t

Problem A car is traveling at night along a highway shaped like a parabola with its vertex at the origin. The car starts at a point 100 m west and 100 m north of the origin and begins travel in a south-easterly direction. There is a statue located 100 m east and 50 m north of the origin. At what point on the highway will the car's headlights illuminate the statue? Draw: Use a graph or drawing to illustrate the given data.

Analyze: Using your drawing, describe in mathematical terms what the headlights of the car represent at each point on the highway. How can this help you solve the problem?

Data List: List all known and unknown variables and equations given in the problem. Also include possible useful equations and the realistic range of your solution.


Engineering Calculus Peer Led Session Tangent Lines II Activity Report We verify that we all understand and agree with the solutions to these questions. Group #: Manager: Recorder: Spokesperson: Strategy Analyst: Critical Thinking Questionsto be completed by the recorder. Your peer leader will instruct you on how to fill out this section.

For Instructors Use Only All questions filled out Names and U numbers printed on activity report Critical Thinking fully justified and written in complete sentences Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Reflection on Learning---to be completed by the Strategy Analyst.

Group #:

In your group's opinion, which of the questions exemplified the main concept of today's activity? Explain why.