Jan 142016
 

Electricity warning signIf you’ve got the word “power” in your name, you’d better believe expectations are going to be sky high for what you can do. The Power Rule in calculus brings it and then some.

The Power Rule, probably the most used rule when differentiating, gives us a drop dead simple way to differentiate polynomials. Specifically it says for that any polynomial term x raised to the power n with coefficient a:

(1)   \begin{equation*} \frac{d}{dx}ax^n = nax^{n-1}, \qquad n \neq 0 \end{equation*}

Apply this to every term in your polynomial, and you’ve got its derivative! Easy peasy. Let’s prove it.

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Jan 032016
 
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus Book Cover The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus
W. Michael Kelley
Mathematics
Penguin
2006
336

Let's face it: most students don't take calculus because they find it intellectually stimulating. It's not . . . at least for those who come up on the wrong side of the bell curve! There they are, minding their own business, working toward some non-science related degree, when . . . BLAM! They get next semester's course schedule in the mail, and first on the list is the mother of all loathed college courses . . . CALCULUS! Not to fear-The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calculus, Second Edition, like its predecessor, is a curriculum-based companion book created with this audience in mind. This new edition continues the tradition of taking the sting out of calculus by adding more explanatory graphs and illustrations and doubling the number of practice problems! By the time readers are finished, they will have a solid understanding (maybe even a newfound appreciation) for this useful form of math. And with any luck, they may even be able to make sense of their textbooks and teachers.