Calculus for three-year-olds

The other day Franci and I were talking about subjects we studied in high school, and Marica asked what “calculus” was. Franci said it was a type of maths (Marica’s been learning her written numbers). Marica of course replied that “she could do that”, but Franci said she was probably a bit young for calculus.

That was enough of a challenge for me, so I decided to give Marica her first calculus lesson. If you keep it graphical and leave out the algebra, calculus is actually a fairly simple subject — areas under curves (read “colouring in”) and slopes (“going up and down hills”).

Below is a photo of our worksheet. Diagram 1 is me showing her how to do integration. In diagram 2 I’m explaining differentiation. And in diagram 3 I asked her to draw a curve, and then calculate the area under the curve from point A to point B using graphical techniques (she did a pretty good job).

8 thoughts on “Calculus for three-year-olds

  1. Thanks for the encouragement – as we get back into formal schooling – that, no, calculus is not so hard! At least the concepts aren’t….

  2. Um, don’t tell Marica, but I never took calculus. I’m sure there was a bit of it worked into the Saxon Advanced Math curriculum, but I might need to do a refresher course starting at Marica’s level. You giving tutoring sessions? :)

    • Yeah, maybe I’ll have to: “Calculus in the Apple”, in which we integrate the area under the bridges off Manhattan, calculate the slope of the market changes on Wall St, etc. :-)

  3. You guys are awesome possum! This reminds me of when a friend of mine was teaching me hyperbolic geometry, just because. :) Marica is rather bright, and it just goes to show that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. :) Be blessed

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