Electronic Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics


Animated Demonstrations for Multivariable Calculus

John F. Putz
Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Alma College
Alma, MI 48801
Phone: (517) 463-7253
Fax: (517) 463-7277
E-mail: putz@alma.edu


With the ability of computer algebra systems to graph surfaces in three dimensions, came a major leap in our capacity to convey the ideas of multivariable calculus. Their facility for animation is the next significant stride. Of all the methods I have tried, animated demonstrations have been the most effective, particularly for: quadric surfaces; level curves and level surfaces; velocity and acceleration vectors; and directional derivative and gradient vector. In this paper, I share ten animated demonstrations that I have written using Maple V Release 4 to teach these topics.