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The Heater II

Keywords: Multivariable Calculus, Contour Diagram, Temperature, Rate

Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity is designed to help students interpret partial derivatives using contour diagrams.
  2. Students work in small groups to determine rates of change using a contour diagram showing isotherms over time and space.
  3. The whole class wrap-up discussion emphasizes physical interpretation and the need to specify “with respect to what”.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Good introduction to interpreting partial derivatives using contour diagrams, emphasizing units and “with respect to what”.


Instructor's Guide

Student Handouts


Authors: Adapted from Calculus, 4th edition, by Hughes Hallett et al, (c) 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc; used by permission.
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