Department of Mathematics

IDEA: Internet Differential Equations Activities

Derivative Illustration

This plot illustrates the relationship of the derivative of a function to the function itself. The function f is shown as a thick blue curve. Its derivative is shown as a thin blue line. The tangent line to f is shown as a red line. The point where it is tangent is marked with a small diamond. The slope of the tangent line at that value of x is the value of the derivative at that point - at the end of the short gray line segment joining f with its derivative. You can see clearly that whenever the derivative function is negative, then the tangent line slopes downhill toward the right. When the derivative is positive, the tangent line slopes upward.

Derivative Plot
Point x0 where tangent is shown:

With the advent of HTML5, Javascript is now ready for prime time for mathematical applications. There are new Javascript demos illustrating how we might use interactive web objects to help students learn Calculus.

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This project is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation. Opinions expressed are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of the Foundation.
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