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You know the derivative short-cut rule for functions of the form you derive the rule for

the similar-looking function need to decrease its power.

y = x A , where A is a constant. Today,

y = Ax . Your CAS will be your guide, but first we

NOTE: Your CAS is sometimes too powerful. It is very important that you follow the precise syntax instructions for this activity. To understand WHY exponential derivatives follow a particular form, you should only compute what is requested in each of the following questions. Dont ruin the story! 1. SET THE CAS MODE TO APPROXIMATE You MUST do this FIRST. 2. You have already learned how to compute derivatives on your CAS. Prove to yourself that you can do this by first mentally computing the derivative of y = 10 x7 3x + and then having your CAS provide the same answer.

THE TASK:
You are to find derivative formulas for each of the following functions:

1 1 y = 10 , y = 5 , y = 2 , y = 1 , y = , y = 2 10
x x x x

Since you dont know the rule for this form yet, you will use numerical techniques to derive it. Start with y = 10x . Pick 5 different x-values, enter them in the table below. Then compute approximations for f ( x ) and f ( x ) at the specific points as shown above, and enter the results in the table below. Be sure to use the following syntax to find the derivative for each x-value (for example at x = a): d ( f ( x )) | x = a . dx f ( x ) = 10 x f ( x) x 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Sketch the ordered pairs ( x, f ( x ) ) on the axes below. Your job is to find an equation for this graph.

From derivative sketches in earlier classes, you learned that derivatives of exponential functions look suspiciously like exponential functions. For this reason, the pattern above ought to look like some type of y = C D x . Since C and D are obviously related to the original function, D is the easy parameter. Since steep exponentials have steep derivatives, what does this suggest about the value for D relative to A? Use this value and an appropriate regression to help you compute a reasonable estimate of C to at least four (4) decimal places. C= D=

Iteration:
Repeat this task for the other five exponential functions. One of them should be very simple). In the table below, record the values you get for C and D for each function.

f ( x)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

y = 10x y = 5x y = 2x y = 1x
1 y= 2
x

1 y= 10

Its almost over:


Just like the value of D was related to the original exponential function, y = Ax , so is the value of C. The relationship is just not as easy to see. Since C is related to the original A, it should make sense to call it a function of A, or in mathematical terms, C = g ( A) . Your final task is to find the function y = g ( x ) . Since g is a function, you have several ordered pairs, ( A,C ) , that you can graph. Briefly, explain why the order of the ordered pair,

( A,C ), makes sense:

From your work above, you should have six ordered pairs, ( A,C ) . Graph them on the axes below:

What pattern do you see? What does this suggest about the form of the function y = g ( x ) ?

Use a regression to find y = g ( x ) . After this, you should be able to write a simple closed form short-cut for the derivative of any function of the form y = Ax . For f ( x ) = x A , you already know f ( x ) = Ax A1. Given h ( x ) = Ax , what is the formula for h ( x ) ?

The final question:


A peculiar fact about exponential functions is that one of them is its own derivative. Find the value of A for which this is true. That is, if h ( x ) = Ax , then for what value of A is h ( x ) = h ( x )? Briefly justify your claim.

NOTE: The equation h ( x ) = h ( x ) is called a differential equation since one of the terms in the equation is a derivative of a function. The typical goal of a differential equation is to determine an expression for the function or functions whose derivatives are given in the equation. That is precisely what you did in answering the final question.