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Introduction to Derivatives

𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒚
It is all about slope! 𝑺𝒍𝒐𝒑𝒆 =
𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒙

But how do we find the slope at But with derivatives we use a

We can find an average slope
a point? There is nothing to small difference ... then have
between two points.
measure! it shrink towards zero.
Let us Find a Derivative!

To find the derivative of a function y = f(x) we use the slope formula:

𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒚
𝑺𝒍𝒐𝒑𝒆 =
𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒙

x changes from x to x+Δx

y changes from f(x) to f(x+Δx)

∆𝑦 𝑓 𝑥 + ∆𝑥 − 𝑓(𝑥)
1 - Fill in this slope formula =
∆𝑥 ∆𝑥
2 - Simplify it as best we can

3 - Then make Δx shrink towards zero, i.e find its L I M I T .

Example: the function 𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥 2

We know 𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥 2 , and we can calculate 𝑓 𝑥 + ∆𝑥 :

Start with: 𝑓 𝑥 + ∆𝑥 = (𝑥 + ∆𝑥)2

Expand (𝑥 + ∆𝑥)2 : 𝑓 𝑥 + ∆𝑥 = 𝑥 2 + 2𝑥∆𝑥 + ∆𝑥 2

𝑓 𝑥+∆𝑥 −𝑓(𝑥)
The slope formula is:

𝑥 2 +2𝑥∆𝑥+∆𝑥 2 −𝑥 2
Put in f(x+Δx) and f(x):
Result: the derivative of 𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥 2 is 2𝑥
2𝑥∆𝑥+∆𝑥 2
Simplify (x2 and −x2 cancel):
∆𝑥 In other words, the slope at x is 𝟐𝒙
Simplify more (divide through by Δx): 2𝑥 + ∆𝑥
Then as Δx heads towards 0 we get: 2𝑥

We write “dx” instead of “Δx heads towards 0”.

And "the derivative of" is commonly written as

It means that, for the function x2, the slope or

"rate of change" at any point is 2x.

𝑑𝑥 2 𝑦 − 𝑦1 = 𝑚 𝑥 − 𝑥1
= 2𝑥
𝑑𝑥 𝑦 − 4 = 4(𝑥 − 2)
𝑦 = 4𝑥 − 4
• when x=2 the slope is 2x = 4

• when x=5 the slope is 2x = 10, and so on.

"Shrink towards zero" is actually written as a limit like this:

The process of finding a derivative is called "differentiation".

Leibniz Notation
This notation was invented by the German 𝑓 𝑥 ; 𝑓ሶ 𝑥 ;

; ሶ 𝑦′
mathematician Leibniz

Let y be a function of x. A common way to express When we wish to evaluate a derivative at a

“the derivative of y with respect to x” is the notation number, we write:

𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑦
= 𝑓′(𝑥) ቤ = 𝑓 ′ (2)
𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑥 𝑥=2
Power Rule f f’(xn) = nx(n-1) f’

Write the exponent x 1x(1-1) = x0 1

as a coefficient

𝑑(𝑥 𝑛 ) x2 2x(2-1) = 2x1 2x

= 𝑛𝑥 𝑛−1
𝑑𝑥 Subtract 1 from the
x3 3x(3-1) = 3x2 3x2

exponent x4 4x(4-1) = 4x3 4x3

The Power Rule also allows us to differentiate expressions
with rational exponents
And for negative exponents:
x-1 -1x(-1-1) = -x-2 -x-2

x-2 -2x(-2-1) = -2x-3 -2x-3

x-3 -3x(-3-1) = -3x-4 -3x-4

The Derivative of a Constant Function

𝐹(𝑥) = 𝑐
Note that the slope at each point on its graph is 0.
The derivative of a constant function is 0.

The Derivative of a Constant times a Function

The derivative of a constant times a function is the constant

times the derivative of the function. Using derivative
notation, we can write this as

𝑑 𝑑
𝑐𝑓(𝑥) = 𝑐 𝑓(𝑥)
𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑥
Function Derivative
Common Functions
Constant c 0
Line x 1
ax a
Square x2 2x
Square Root √x (½)x-½
Exponential ex ex
ax ln(a) ax
Logarithms ln(x) 1/x
loga(x) 1 / (x ln(a))

Trigonometry (x is in radians) sin(x) cos(x)

cos(x) −sin(x)
tan(x) sec2(x)
Inverse Trigonometry sin-1(x) 1/√(1−x2)
cos-1(x) −1/√(1−x2)
tan-1(x) 1/(1+x2)
Function Derivative

Multiplication by constant cf cf’

Power Rule xn nxn−1
Sum Rule f+g f’ + g’
Difference Rule f-g f’ − g’
Product Rule fg f g’ + f’ g
Quotient Rule f/g (f’ g − g’ f )/g2
Reciprocal Rule 1/f −f’/f2
Chain Rule

(as "Composition of Functions") fºg (f’ º g) × g’

(using ’ ) f(g(x)) f’(g(x))g’(x)

𝑑 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑦 𝑑𝑢
(using ) =
𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑥 𝑑𝑢 𝑑𝑥
Second Derivative

The "Second Derivative" is the derivative

of the derivative of a function.

• Find the derivative of a function

• Then take the derivative of that
Example: Distance, Speed and Acceleration

position 𝑢(𝑥) = 𝑥 2

Notation: velocity 𝑢(𝑥)

ሶ = 2𝑥
Derivative of a function: 𝑓 ′ 𝑥 ; 𝑓ሶ 𝑥 ;
𝑑 2 (𝑓) acceleration 𝑢(𝑥)
ሷ =2
Second derivative of a function: 𝑓 ′′ 𝑥 ; 𝑓ሷ 𝑥 ;
𝑑𝑥 2
Finding Maxima and Minima using Derivatives

The x-values at which a continuous function has

relative extrema are those values for which the

derivative is 0 or for which the derivative does not

exist - the critical values.

If a function f has a relative extreme value on an

open interval, then c is a critical value, so 𝑓 ′ 𝑐 =

0 or 𝑓 ′ (𝑐) does not exist

The function has as a

We can think of a critical value as a candidate for critical value, but has no
relative maximum or
a value where a relative extremum might occur.
minimum at that value.
How Do We Know it is a Maximum or Minimum?

We saw it on the graph! But otherwise ... derivatives come to the rescue again.

It is possible to analyze the First derivative or the Second derivative

First derivative test

At a critical value where there is a

relative minimum, the function is
decreasing to the left of the critical
value and increasing to the right. At
a critical value where there is a
relative maximum, the function is
increasing to the left of the critical
value and decreasing to the right.
In both cases, the derivative
changes signs on either side of the
critical value
Second Derivative Test

When a function's slope is zero at x, and

the second derivative at x is:

• less than 0, it is a local maximum

• greater than 0, it is a local minimum

• equal to 0, then the test fails (there may

be other ways of finding out though)

Partial Derivatives

Function that have more than 1 input are called functions of

several variables. To differentiate those function in respect
one of its variables we consider other variables as constants.

Consider the function:

𝑧 = 𝑓 𝑥, 𝑦 = 𝑥 2 𝑦 3 + 𝑥𝑦 + 4𝑦 2

To find its partial derivative with respect to x we treat y Partial derivative with respect to x
as a constant • 𝑓𝑥′
𝑓𝑥′ = 2𝑦 3 𝑥 + 𝑦 •
Example1: find the partial derivatives of f(x,y,z) = x4 − 3xyz

∂f/∂x = 4x3 − 3yz

∂f/∂y = −3xz

∂f/∂z = −3xy

Example2: find the partial derivatives of f(x,y) = sin(2x) + cos(y)

∂f/∂x = 2cos(x)

∂f/∂y = -sin(y)
Applications of Differentiation

Maximum and minimum problems

• Maximizing areas

• Minimizing material

• Business – maximizing revenue

• Business – determining a ticket price

• Minimising inventory costs

Growth models

Compound interests
A Strategy for Solving Maximum–Minimum Problems

1. Read the problem carefully. If relevant, make a drawing.

2. Make a list of appropriate variables and constants, noting what varies, what stays fixed, and

what units are used. Label the measurements on your drawing, if one exists.

3. Translate the problem to an equation involving a quantity Q to be maximized or minimized.

4. Try to represent Q in terms of the variables of step 2.

5. Try to express Q as a function of one variable. Determine the maximum or minimum values

and the points at which they occur.

Example: Find the dimensions of a rectangle with perimeter 1000 metres so that the area of the rectangle is
a maximum.
Exponential and logarithmic functions

Finding the derivatives of such functions, we

can apply in the areas of population growth

and decay, continuously compounded interest,

spread of disease, and carbon dating.

Common logarithm: log10 𝑥 = log 𝑥

Natural logarithm: log 𝑒 𝑥 = ln 𝑥
Basic Properties of logarithms