Aliens in the Apple

Calculus for three-year-olds

Ben 12 Oct 2010 Education Kids

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).

Comments (8)

Bryan Hoyt 12 Oct 2010 at 3:37pm

Heh, good idea. I like the surfer guy :-)

Laurel 12 Oct 2010 at 8:52pm

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

Hannah 12 Oct 2010 at 9:58pm

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? :)

Ben 13 Oct 2010 at 7:47am

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. :-)

Marcelle 14 Oct 2010 at 4:18am

What do you reckon she’ll think of Statistics “Pie Graphs”?!

Ben 14 Oct 2010 at 7:03am

Great idea, Marcelle. I think she’d love ‘em. Yum! :-)

Anna Miretti 17 Oct 2010 at 10:36am

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

Ben 17 Oct 2010 at 10:45am

I was stoked yesterday — as we were driving to the Bronx Zoo, we passed this bridge, and Marica said, “Look, Dad, it’s the area under the curve!”