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# Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

## Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

12.0 In this section, we will try to find ways to approximate areas under curves. It will be useful to
understand how to use summation notation to accomplish this. Here is an example to see how it
works:
7

i
i 2
2
2 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6 2 7 2 139

## (This is read The sum as i goes from 2 to 7 of i squared.)

For each value of i going from 2 to 7, we evaluate i 2 and add.

## Now evaluate these:

5
a) (i 3)
i 0
2
4
i
b) 4
i 1 8
3
c) 7
i 1

12.1 We have seen the function f ( x) 3x 2 in an earlier worksheet. We are interested in finding a
good estimate for the area under this graph and above the x-axis between 0 and 1. Lets zoom in
on this region so we can get a closer look. There are lots of ways to estimate this area. One way
is to approximate the area with areas of rectangles.

f ( x) 3 x 2
1

1) For our first estimate, well divide the interval 0,1 into two equal parts. Lets use the
right end-point of each subinterval to determine the heights of the rectangle. Find the sum of
the areas of the shaded rectangles. Will this sum overestimate or underestimate the area under
the curve?

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
1
Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

2) Lets zoom in some more in order to find a better estimate. Now well divide the interval
into four equal subintervals.

## 0.25 0.5 0.75 1

a) This picture illustrates the use of left endpoints to obtain the heights of our rectangles.
Fill in the values that are missing from the table.

Rectangle 1 2 3 4
Width
Height f (0) = 0 f () =0.1875 f () = f () =

## Area f (0) = 0 f ()=0.046875 f () = f () =

b) Using the left endpoints, estimate of the area under the curve (i.e. the sum of the areas of
these rectangles).

Note that the sum of the areas of these rectangles can written as
1 1 1 1 1 1 3
f (0) f ( ) f ( ) f ( )
4 4 4 4 2 4 4
2 2 2 2
1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3
3 3 3 3
4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
2
3
1 i
3
i 0 4 4

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
2
0.25 0.5 0.75 1
Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

c) This picture illustrates the use of right endpoints to obtain the heights of our rectangles.
Complete the table.

Rectangle 1 2 3 4
Width
Height f () = 0.1875 f () = f () = f (1) =

## Area f ()=0.046875 f () = f () = f (1) =

d) Using the right endpoints, estimate of the area under the curve.

## e) Write this estimate using summation notation.

3) Now lets do the same thing but divide the interval into ten equal pieces.

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
3
Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

f ( x) 3x 2

## 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

a) The graph illustrates the use of left endpoints to obtain the heights of our rectangles.
Complete the table.

Rectangle 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Width 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Height f (0) = f (.1) = f (.2) = f (.3) = f (.4) =
0 0.03 0.12 0.27 0.48

## b) Estimate of the area under the curve.

c) Does this over or under estimate the area under the curve?

## d) Write this estimate using summation notation.

4) Use the right endpoints of the ten subintervals to obtain the heights of the rectangles.
Shade the rectangles and complete the table.

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
4
Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

## 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

Rectangle 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Width 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Height f (.1) = f (.2) = f (.3) = f (.4) =
0.03 0.12 0.27 0.48
Area 0.003 0.012 0.027 0.048

## a) What is the estimate of the area under the curve?

b) Does this over or under estimate the area under the curve?

## c) Write this estimate using summation notation.

5) Now divide the interval 0,1 into 100 subintervals. Use the left endpoints to get the heights
of the rectangles. Write the approximation to the area under the curve using summation
notation. Use the calculator program to evaluate it.

## 6) Do the same for n subintervals.

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
5
Problem Set 12 Area under the Curve

## 7) As n gets large, what happens to your estimates?

8) We have focused on using rectangles to approximate the area. What other polygonal
shape could be used that would result in greater accuracy? Use this shape and four

## 0.25 0.5 0.75 1

Copyright 2007. Concepts of Calculus for Middle Level Teachers. First developed for the La Meta Summer Institute, University of New
Mexico. Adapted for the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
6

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