FFF #142. Calculating the Average Speed

FFF #142. Calculating the Average Speed

Author: Bill Simpson

The College Mathematics Journa, Vol. 30, No. 3 (May, 1999), pp. 209-211.

Published by: Mathematical Association of America.

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2687600

Tag(s): Differential equations, derivatives

Abstract. This column solicits mistakes and fallacies for the purpose of promoting both learning and laughter. Michigan State University professor Bill Simpson discusses the thought process of a new calculus student. After assigning the problem of finding the average speed for a specific time period, the student correctly begins by connecting the notion of “speed” with taking the first derivative. She then continues by evaluating the deriative at the initial and final times given, arriving at the final answer. However, her method isn’t always infallible, namely when the evaluated derivative is a negative value. Toluwani Soares, Stephen F. Austin University, May 5 2017.

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