Math 50A: Differential Calculus

Catalog Description

A study of limits, continuity, and derivatives of algebraic, transcendental, and trigonometric functions. Applications of the derivative include optimization, related rates, examples from the natural and social sciences, and graphing of functions. The course introduces the integral and the connection between the integral and derivative.

Prerequisites: Math 30 and Math 25 (or the equivalent) with a grade of "C" or better, or appropriate score on math placement exam.

Student Expectations

Math 50A, Differential Calculus, is the first in a three-course sequence in calculus offered by the mathematics department at College of the Redwoods. The next two courses are Math 50B, Integral Calculus, and Math 50C, Multivariable Calculus.

Depending on the student major, some students will have to take all three courses in the sequence, others will only need to take one or two of the courses. Students shold consult the requirements of their major at the college to which they hope to transfer. However, students should understand that each course is taught at a level needed to prepare students for the next course in the sequence.

Math 50A begins with an introduction to the concept called the average rate of change of a function, then uses the concept of the limit of a function to make the connection between the average rate of change and the instantaneous rate of change of a function. The concept of instantaneous rate of change is then connected to the derivative of a function. Hence the name, "Differential Calculus."

Instructors will make extensive use of technology, calculators, and computers to help create visualizations that will enhance and deepen the understanding of the concepts introduced in the course. Students should be prepared and willing to use computer software to explore concepts and verify the results of the calculations required on their homework.


Textbook information can be found at the following link:

Textbook Information

Math 50A Video Lectures

The following link allows access to all Math 50A classes filmed during the Fall semester, 2010.

Math 50A Video Lectures

Sample Quizzes

To get some sense of the type of quizzes that will be administered in Differential Calculus, take a look at the following page:

Sample Quizzes

Important Links

Current Math 50A Home Pages

Past Math 50A Home Pages