Author Archives: vandieren

A sweet application of parametric curves

This Washington Post article about the mathematics of taffy pulling is screaming to be turned into a classroom example/activity.  And here’s a link to the full mathematical article in the arxiv complete with equations.

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CalcPlot3D workshop at RMU

On August 7-10, 2016, nine engineers, mathematicians, developers, and educators met at Robert Morris University to develop new CalcPlot3D explorations, to begin importation of explorations to WeBWorK, and to continue research on student understanding of multivariable calculus concepts.  The new … Continue reading

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RMU Faculty Research Conference

I had a great time this morning manning a poster about the CalcPlot3D applet, some of the models that I have made this semester and am using in class, and our initial research on student visual understanding of multivariable calculus concepts … Continue reading

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Hidden gem: Time dependent vector fields

You have probably seen the “Add a Vector Field” option under the Graph menu in CalcPlot3D which allows you to create some nifty three-dimensional vector fields like the one below. But did you know that you can add a parameter … Continue reading

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Parametric Heart

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Script to find an intersection of two surfaces and a tangent line

This is a script that I use in class to validate and visualize the results of a 2 step problem which asks students to find a parametric equation representing the intersection of two surfaces:  z=x^2+3y^2 and x=y^2 and then to find the tangent … Continue reading

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A 3D printed knot

Here are two photos of the 3D model of the parametric surface: x(u,v)  = cos(u)*cos(v)+3cos(u)*(1.5+sin(u*5/3)/2) y(u,v) = sin(u)*cos(v)+3sin(u)*(1.5+sin(u*5/3)/2) z(u,v) = sin(v)+2cos(5u/3)

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3D model finished!

My first attempt at a 3D printed model was finished today.   Next time I’ll refine the grid so that the surface isn’t so faceted, but I’m happy with the result.  I can’t wait to create more.

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Explorations

CalcPlot3D has four built-in explorations which each contain a pre- and post-test.  Our current goal is to develop more explorations and to import these explorations into WeBWorK. The current explorations, which should be accessed with Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer … Continue reading

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Shortcuts and Navigation Tips

These are a few tips that I share with my students during our first computer lab in which they are using CalcPlot3D independently. Copying images from CalcPlot3D into a word processor document: Click on the graph then typing Ctrl-c (or … Continue reading

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