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Journal SomeoneGotMyNick's Journal: Help me learn Calculus 4

OK, here's the deal.

I like mathematics. However, I don't get to study it much past the family budget these days. I can hold my own (with a bit of refresher) up to Trigonometry. After that, I get confused. Here's why:

You know the old saying, "I'm from Missouri"? You know, the "Show Me State". Well, I've been able to learn mathematics through high school up until trig simply because I was able to not only apply the previous knowledge, but I actually had something useful to use it with. People were able to show me how and why it works.

That is my problem. I could possibly understand Calculus if it weren't always appearing to me to be theoretical. Sure, I know that you can find derivatives (or limits) of functions. OK, then what? I need to find the link between theory and real world implementation.

I learn things differently than most people teach. I don't learn the tools then put them to use. I cannot comprehend much from that style of teaching. I learn better by having a problem to solve, THEN I learn what I need to know to solve it. Yes it takes extra time for me to learn everything, but it's more effective for me.

All my research in Calculus shows me the fundamentals, but doesn't give many real world examples to try it on. I'm looking for a Calculus solvable problem (a simple one at first), followed by some guidance on how it's solved, and explainations of the calculus fundamentals that were utilized to solve the problem. After a few of these, I may be able to create my own problems and find ways of solving them using what I've learned so far. For me, the snowball effect in calculus knowledge will soon start to take over.

That is the way I learn. That's how I became a computer programmer with a great deal of experience.

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Help me learn Calculus

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  • Take a physics class or read a physics book.

  • Sure, I know that you can find derivatives (or limits) of functions. OK, then what? I need to find the link between theory and real world implementation.

    Isn't derivatives kind of very intuitive if you don't go all the way to very abstract spaces? I mean, there are many obvious situations that call for a derivative, such as taking the time derivative of a position to get the velocity.

    Also, I would say there are many concepts in maths that simply has no simple application in the so called real world. You

  • I have a similar learning style, so I can certainly sympathize. The example that helped me the most was the "object falling out of a plane and hitting a target" one -- it's a visual example. You have to picture an object falling from a relatively high altitude. The object of the whole exercise is to accurately hit a target. You're going to use math to make it happen. It's a calm day (so we don't have to factor in wind). We're going to pretend temperature and humidity are not a factor, either, etc. Al

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