Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The End Is Near

The semester ends for me on December 14 (my last final exam), but I'm pretty much feeling like it's about over now.

This might be an artifact of doing infinite series in the middle of the semester instead of at the end. Only a few more loose ends to tie up with the Taylor series. Like, um, proving Taylor's Theorem. Do I really want to do that? Couldn't I just assert to my students, "If this function has a Taylor series, this is what it would be. And it does have a Taylor series, and you can use it just like the function. Trust me." Calculus feels so finished once you're done with the Taylor series.

Really, when you come down to it, I HAVE pretty much finished calculus. Sure, I should say something about the area between two curves (you just subtract!) and about arclength (use the formula!) and volume (umm....) and all those physics problems (aren't you taking physics?), but all of that is really more traditional than essential. I have eighteen more class periods to fill with six sections of the textbook dealing with the applications of integration. My current plan is to use the applications of integration to remind my students what integration is and how to do it and then to keep reviewing series once a week until we get to the final exam.

Unfortunately, my students seem to have picked up on this feeling, and they have stopped coming to class. I'm hoping that it's an artifact of my teaching at 9am. In any event, since we're about done with calculus, the bright ones should be able to fake their way through until December.