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The Hot Plate

Keywords: Multivariable Calculus, Partial Derivatives, Contour Maps, Surfaces


Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity using surfaces introduces a geometric interpretation of partial derivatives in terms of measured ratios of small changes.
  2. Students work in small groups to identify locations on their surface with particular properties.
  3. The whole class wrap-up discussion emphasizes the equivalence of multiple representations of partial derivatives.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Provides practice interpreting partial derivatives as measured ratios of small changes.


Instructor's Guide

Student Handouts


Authors: (c) Aaron Wangberg and the "Raising Calculus to the Surface" team; used by permission.
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