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Friday, September 01, 2006

New Calculators: Brain still required

I teach lots of calculus as I am a small-time college mathematics professor.

By "small time" I mean that my research never put me in contention for an endowed professorship anywhere!

One of the biggest changes we've had to calculus teaching over the past 15 years or so is the introduction of calculators that do symbolic calculus; for exampe, if you wanted to find:
integral(e^2*x dx) you could just enter it and obtain (1/2)e^(2x). You'd have to add the "c", of course.

So, after a recent class, one student brought me the following:

integral((e^x )*sin(2*x) dx) and obtained:
(1/pi^2 + 8100)*e^x*(-90*pi*cos(2*x) + 8100*sin(2*x)) + C

What did the student do wrong?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The student left it in degree mode instead of using radians. ;]

Just stumbled across this and thought I would answer (as nobody else bothered).

10:11 PM  

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