I've added Sage Interact code for generating problems with derivatives, and the user can decide whether the problems require the Chain Rule or not--the screenshot above shows it running on this website. The code, which was designed last year, was created because I needed more problems (with a higher degree of difficulty). At the time, I had students who wanted more practice problems (because they wanted to be able to practice working with more difficult problems) so I ended up giving out the very rough code. I've since cleaned up the code to make the difficulty level more uniform.
The basic structure of the code is that the first 6 problems don't involve the Chain Rule, but problems 7-12 require the Chain Rule. Therefore, if the user requests Chain Rule problems then, because the Chain Rule problems are lumped together, a random number from 7 to 12 is repeatedly generated. So if you want to add your own types of problems to the code, make sure that you are grouping Chain Rule problems together.
A more subtle issue to be aware of is when you see code like this:
while i == j and j== 0:
j = Integer(randint(0,len(TheFunctions)-1))
The code is throwing out the possibility of nesting the same exact functions (eg ) but the j==0 code is more subtle. It throws out the possibility of having in the denominator because, for example, if the user has chosen to create problems that don't require the Chain Rule the code might create a quotient problem where is in the denominator but then Sage converts it to a product involving which requires the Chain Rule.
I've two lines of comment to my code because I've had some inquiries about using some of the resources from this site. With respect to the SageTex problems on my website, the problems are generic in nature so I don't think that I or anyone has the rights to it. For example, the Limits8 problem is the sort of problem you would expect to see in any Calculus textbook. I've just randomized it using Python so I can create randomized tests with answer keys. That saves time and eliminates mistakes.
With respect to Python code that I've created, it should be viewed as Copyleft:
Essentially any non commercial use for educational purposes only is okay.
This website contains material I develop for use in my classes, and I hope it can help other teachers out. It would be better still if others can contribute copyleft code, such as SageTex problems, so that the database of problems gets bigger even faster. But using code developed here to sell as your own would not be advisable.
Here are some other issues that have caught my attention since last time:
- PerDaily.com has an interesting piece on textbooks that are never obsolete. It asks the question, "What if a school districts...owned all the copyrights of all the textbooks they used and had their teachers, who were so inclined, write chapters for these textbooks." . And a little further down, "Furthermore, the whole nature of textbooks and supporting materials could easily be changed with access to the Internet where these textbooks could constantly be edited and updated in material with new writing and online links as time goes by and the reality of the subject changes. Wouldn't this obviate the necessity of ever having to scrap textbooks in what remains an unnecessary and expensive process every 7 years that clearly only benefits the interests and profits of textbook publishers?". I like the basic idea but I don't like quite a few of the specifics of implementation.
- NJ.com has an article on a teacher who had their license suspended for making comments about a student's name on Facebook. The article says, ""The student's name contained a curse word and Nichols allegedly posted 'I want to ask the parents if I can change it' and 'I still can't get over the student's name!'" it said. "In response to others' comments about the name, Nichols allegedly wrote "How do you think I feel when I have to address him???? I literally can't stop laughing! I have to go all year with this’---!!!'"". Some people have WAY too much free time on their hands. With the potential for some serious penalties, cue the violins, as the teacher in question, "...told the board she was under significant stress at the time due to a recent divorce and struggling with diabetes.The board agreed not to revoke Nichols' teaching certificates permanently, instead ordering a one-year suspension of them because she had "fully accepted responsibility for her actions.""She has also undertaken counseling to deal with her level of stress and many responsibilities,"".
- Alternet.org has a disturbing article: Imagine a student who, "had reportedly been bullied for years at school, hounded with homophobic slurs and constant harassment.". He snapped one day, threw the first punch, and got beaten up badly enough to be in the hospital for 7 weeks. The others involved had no injuries. But what makes this story enter the bizarre is that, "...school officials and local police delivered another blow to Martin by charging him with two counts of assault and refusing to allow him back into the school until he signs a written statement saying he threatened the school (which he denies).". Check out the local TV video coverage.