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Arjun Muralidharan

Mr. Acre

AP Calculus

13 March 2017

Calculus. This word strikes fear in the hearts of many high-schoolers and often haunts the

dreams of college students. However, calculus is not that terrifying! Calculus is just the next step

after geometry and algebra, and sometimes it is the combination of both. Moreover, the subject

of calculus boils down to two major concepts: the derivative and the integral.

In the gargantuan world of mathematics, many things are the opposite of each other:

function. Another pair of opposites can be added to the list: the derivative and the integral. The

derivative is the slope of a tangent line to a function, f(x), at any given point. Commonly known

as the instantaneous rate of change at a given point on the function, the derivative can be written

as: y, d/dx, dy/dx, f(x). Meanwhile, the integral is the area beneath a curve between a lower and

b

an upper bound; the integral is written as f (x) .

a

Although very different, both the integral and derivative go hand-in-hand as they both

undo each other. For example, the original function, f(x), is given. The derivative of the function

is f(x). Now, when the integral of f(x) is taken, it returns to the original function of f(x). This is

also true when the integral of f(x) is taken. When the derivative of the integral of f(x), the two

operations cancel each other, leaving with the original function of f(x).

Muralidharan 2

A prime example of integrals and derivatives in real life is in the concepts of distance,

velocity, and acceleration. Say a car is cruising down the highway at a constantly increasing

linear velocity. This linear velocity can be represented with the function of v(x) = 2x+0.5 and is

Figure 1 illustrates the linear function of velocity. The car is constantly increasing its

velocity as more time is being passed. Velocity, commonly known as speed, is the measure of

how far an object travels in a certain amount of time. In the graph above, the cars velocity is

Since the graph is continuous and differentiable in all points, the derivative and integral

can be taken with ease. Given the velocity function of the car, the integral is the function of the

distance that the car has traveled. The integral of the velocity graph is the product of the

dependent variable, velocity measured in m/s, and the independent variable, time measured in

Muralidharan 3

seconds. When the two variables are are multiplied, their two units of measure are also

multiplied (m/s)s. The distance the car travels can be then calculated by applying the integral on

the velocity function. The second cancels, and so the final unit is meters which measures

distance!

Figure 2 shows the velocity graph compared to the distance graph. Using the power rule

for integrals, the integral of function, d(x) = 2x + 0.5 , is d(x) = x2+0.5x+c, shown in green

above, where d(x) is the distance the car travels (in meters) and +c is the constant value that

The derivative of the cars velocity can also taken as the derivative of velocity is

acceleration. Acceleration is the change in speed over a given period of time, and this sounds

really familiar as the derivative is the rate of change, change of y over change of x (dy/dx). So,

Muralidharan 4

the derivative of velocity is m/s, the dependent variable, over seconds, the independent variable,

Figure 3 displays the velocity graph compared to the acceleration graph. Using the power

rule for derivatives, the derivative of the velocity function, v(x) = 2x+0.5, is a(x) = 4, shown in

red above in Figure 3, where a(x) is the acceleration of the car (in meters per second second or

m/s2).

The concepts of derivatives and integrals is not only applied to the concepts of distance,

velocity, and power, but also to the concepts of force, work, and power. For example, let's say

there is a man pushing a crate of pandas across his warehouse full of exotic animals. When the

man pushes the crate continuously, he is applying a force which causes the crate of pandas to

move a certain distance in correlation to the force. This force can be graphed with a continuous

curve, and so the total force the man exerts on the crate can be calculated using the integral.

Muralidharan 5

Once again to find the integral of the force-distance graph, the dependent variable of distance

Newtons, which equals N*m. Work is done when a force is applied to an object and causes it to

move and the units of work is also N*m; so the integral of a force-distance graph is work!

As the man pushes on the crate of pandas, he does work, and the longer he pushes, the

more work he does. The amount of work versus time can also be graphed into a continuous

function in which the derivative can be taken. Power is defined as the rate at which work is done,

meaning that the change in the work function, dy, is divided by the change in time, dx. And so,

Each of these concepts distance, velocity, acceleration, work, force, and power can

all be graphed with functions, and all these functions have interesting properties, such as

maximums, minimums, roots, and points of inflection. These points are called critical points,

points on a graph where the derivative of the function is equal to zero or undefined. The

relationships between the original function, the derivative, and the double derivative can help

find the critical points. As shown below, the graph of f(x) = x3+4x2+8 is plotted with the

Muralidharan 6

Figure 4 shows something magical happening. The x-values for the maximum and

minimum of the f(x) coincide with the roots (where x=0) of the derivative function. Well, it is

not really magic because calculus can explain this abnormality. At a maximum or minimum of

original graph, the function reaches its highest or lowest value meaning there is no change at the

point. And since the derivative is the instantaneous rate of change at one given point, the

instantaneous rate of change of the extremum is zero, which can be illustrated on the graph of the

derivative function.

This same anomaly occurs when the derivative is derived; the x-values of where the

extrema occur on the derivative are the roots of the second derivative. The second derivative

roots translate on the original functions as points of inflection, points where the concavity of the

Muralidharan 7

original function changes from either concave up to concave down or concave down to concave

up.

These relationships can be better explained in charts that show the effect the first

derivative has the original graph and how the second derivative affects the original graph.

First Derivative f(x) Positive Zero Negative

f(x) plateau

Table 1 shows the effect of the sign of first derivative whether it be positive, zero, or negative.

When the f(x) is positive, it means that the original function is increasing, while when f(x) is

negative, f(x) is decreasing. It states once again that when the the first derivative has a root, the

Second Derivative Positive Zero Negative

f(x)

f(x) or or

Point of inflection

Table 2 shows how the second derivative, f(x), affects the original function, f(x). When the

second derivative is positive, it coincides with the f(x) being concave up (smiley face).

Meanwhile, when f(x) is negative, f(x) is concave down (frowny face). When the second

The second derivative is not the only way to solve for the concavity and points of

inflections of the original graph; the first derivative is just as effective. To find points of

inflection using the first derivative, the extrema of the first derivative have to be examined. This

is because at either the highest or lowest value of the derivative, the original function experiences

Muralidharan 8

its largest rate of change, and the largest rate of change is experienced at a point of inflection. As

explained before, these points of inflection indicate when the original function changes

concavity, and so the concavity of the original graph can also be figured out using the first

derivative. When the derivative increases from a negative value to zero to positive, the original

graph goes from to to , which means the graph is concave up like a smiley face.

Meanwhile when the derivative starts positive, approaches zero, and then turns negative, the

original graph goes from to to , which means the graph is concave down.

The first and second derivative can also be utilized to find the extremum of the original

function. When the first derivative goes from positive values to zero and then to negative values,

the extrema of the original function is a maximum. However, when the first derivative goes from

negative values to zero and then to positive values, the extrema of the original function is a

minimum. To find the extrema of the original function using the second derivative, the sign of

the second derivative needs to be considered. If the second derivative is negative, the original

function is concave down meaning that there is a maximum. Meanwhile if the second derivative

Derivatives and integrals are not only used to find critical points, they can be used to find

the area underneath a function. There are several methods of finding the area underneath a

function, such as using Riemann Sums, trapezoids, and Simpson's rule. However, there is

another way to estimate the area and that is the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC). The

FTC states that the area under a function, f(x), is equal to the integral of f(x) between the limits

of integration. Take the example below where f(x) is the function and g(x) is the integral of the

function.

Muralidharan 9

b

f (x)dx = g(x) |ba = g(b) - g(a)

a

The antiderivative or integral of the function is taken and the upper bound and lower

bound are evaluated. Then the lower bound is subtracted from the upper bound.

For example, say the function of f(x) = 3x2 is given and the area between 2 to 6 needed to

6

be calculated. This could be written out in an integral like 3x2 dx . The first step would be taking

2

the antiderivative of f(x) = 3x2, which would be g(x) = x3 + c. Next the limits of integration are

substituted into antiderivative, and then the lower bound is subtracted from the upper bound. So,

the integral then becomes x3 + c |62 = (6)3 + c - (2)3 + c. The constants are then subtracted and the

integral is equal to 208. So the area under the function, f(x), between the x-values of 2 to 6 is 208

units2.

There is another piece to the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus that combines both the

derivative and the integral. The theorem behind the FTC states that the derivative and integral

undo each other, and that taking the derivative of an integral gives you the function that is the

integrand (what is being integrated). However, something bizarre happens when the limits of

integration are no longer constants but one of them is a variable. Now the derivative of the

integral is the integrand of the function evaluated at the variable limit of integration and

x2

multiplied by the variables derivative. Take the example of h(x) = tan(t)dt . The derivative,

1

h(x), according to the FTC 2.0, is tan(x2)2x. The integral and derivative undo each other and

remove the dt and replaces the t with the variable limit of integration, and the derivative of

Muralidharan 10

In calculus, theories and theorems rule. There are a multitude of theorems that are

complex, intricate, and can sometimes cause a headache. However, there are much simpler ones

such as the Mean Value Theorem (MVT) and the Intermediate Value Theorem (IVT).

The Mean Value Theorem states that if a function is continuous from [a,b], the closed

interval between a and b, and differentiable from (a,b), the open interval between a to b where

there are no cusps or asymptotes, then there is some point at where x = c between a and b in

which the derivative of the function equals the average rate of change in that interval. Simply, it

means if a function is differentiable and continuous between the interval of a to b, then there is a

x-value where the derivative equals the average rate between a to b. This can be written as:

f (b) f (a)

f(c) = ba

Muralidharan 11

In Figure 5, the red parabola has the function, y = 0.5x2 with a = -2 and b = 4. The

function is continuous and differentiable in that interval. The green dotted line represents the

average rate of change from a to b, known as the secant line, while the orange dotted line is the

tangent line, with a tantamount slope to the average. This means that the instantaneous rate of

change will equal the average rate of change for the interval and at some point, and in this graph

The Intermediate Value Theorem is another important calculus theorem that needs to be

understood. Mathematically, it states that if the function is continuous in the closed inte

rval of a to b, is differentiable in the open interval of a to b, and has two coordinates, (a, f(a)) and

(b,b(a)), connected by a continuous function, then there is a value x = c between a and b such

Muralidharan 12

Figure 6 portrays the intermediate value theorem in action. Because the function graphed

above is both continuous and differentiable, the IVT can be applied. And so since the value x=c

is between the interval of a to b, so is the value of f(c) between f(a) and f(b).

One other property of integrals is their notation. When the limits of integration of a

b

definite integral are written out, it is normally written as f (x)dx , where a is the lower bound and

a

b is the upper bound (the value of a is less than b). However, when the limits of integration

a

switch places, f (x)dx , the area underneath the curve remains the same, except with the opposite

b

sign. The absolute value for the area beneath the normal integral, where a is the lower bound,

In the world of calculus, the derivative and integral rule. These two concepts can solve

even the most difficult arithmetic problem, but when combined, they are a force to be reckoned

with. The value and importance of both the derivative and integral can branch out further into the

world, unearthing secrets and new discoveries, rather than just being trapped within a classroom

Muralidharan 13

~~Example Problems~~

Problem 1: A function f(x) is defined on the closed interval -5 x 5, and f(1) is 3. The

derivative f(x) is graphed below, consisting of two semicircles and two line segments.

A. For -5 < x < 5, find all values x for which f(x) has a relative maximum.

x = -3, x = 4; These are the roots of the derivative, and wherever the derivative is zero,

there is an extrema of f(x). At these points, the derivative goes from positive to negative,

meaning a concavity of concave down . This leads to a maximum value at these points.

B. For -5 < x < 5, find all values x for which f(x) has a point of inflection.

x = -4, x = -1, x = 2; The roots of the double derivative coincide with the points of

inflection on the original graph. And so, when the first derivative is derived, its extrema

-5 < x < -4 and 1 < x < 2; In these intervals, both the derivative and its slope is positive

D. Find the absolute minimum value of f(x) over the closed interval -5 x 5.

The minimum value of f(x) happens at x=1, and since f(1) = 3, the absolute minimum

Muralidharan 14

value of f(x) is 3. The minimum of f(x) occurs when f(x) is zero and the derivatives

x

E. Let g be the function given by g(x) = f (t)dt . Find g(3), g(3), and g(3).

1

3

g(3) = f (t)dt counting squares between the x-axis and the function from 3 to 1

1

2.5 units2

x

dy

g(x) = dx f (t)dt g(x) = f(x) g(3) = f(3) = 1

a

Problem 2: Two functions f(x) and g(x) are differentiable for all real numbers, and g(x) is strictly

increasing. The table below gives values of the functions and their first derivatives at selected

1 3 4 2 5

2 9 2 3 1

3 10 -4 4 2

4 -1 3 6 7

A. Why there must be a value r for 1 < r < 3 such that h(r) = -5?

Intermediate Value Theorem! The IVT states that if a function is continuous and

differentiable between the values of a and b, then there is a value x = r between a and b

such that there is a value f(x) between f(a) and f(b). Since h(x) is differentiable for all real

Muralidharan 15

There is some value r between 1 and 3 such that h(r) = because -5 is between 3 and -7!

B. Why there must be a value c for 1 < c < 3 such that h(c) = -5?

Mean Value Theorem! The MVT states that if a function is differentiable and

continuous between the interval of a to b, then there is a value x = c where the derivative

h(b) h(a) h(3) h(1)

h(c) = ba -5 = 31 -5 = 72 3 -5 = -5

g(x)

C. Let w(x) = f (t) dt . Find the value of w(3).

1

D. If G-1 is the inverse function of G, write an equation for the line tangent to the graph of y

= G-1(x) at x=2.

G(1) = 2, so G-1(2) = 1

d -1

dx G (2) = G1(1) = slope of the tangent line

Since G-1(2) = 1, point slope form can be used y-1 = (x-2) y = ()x + 0.6

E. If H(x) = xB(x), where B(x) = F-1(x), use the table to find H(3).

1

H(x) = B(x) + (x B(x)) b(3) + 3( f [b(3)] ) F-1(3) = 1 because F(1) = 3

1

H(3) = 1 + 3( f (1) ) = 1 + 3( 14 ) = 1.75!

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