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Visualizing Gradient

Keywords: Computer Visualization, Maple, Mathematica, Gradient, Vector Field, Scalar Fields


Highlights of the activity

  1. This computer visualization activity is designed to provide students with a geometric understanding of gradient.
  2. Students use Maple/Mathematica to calculate and visualize the gradient for several representative examples of scalar fields.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on comparing the gradient for different scalar fields, showing that the gradient is always perpendicular to the level curves/surfaces, and on the dimensionality of gradient.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

This activity helps students understand the geometric interpretation of the gradient and gives them an opportunity to practice computing a gradient and a directional derivative.


Instructor's Guide

Maple Worksheet (Maple 13)

vfgradient.mws (Maple 11 Classic)

Mathematica Notebook


Authors: Corinne Manogue
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