Education Technology

Slope Fields and Euler's Method for AP Calculus

Activity Overview

In this activity students use Computer Algebra System (CAS) to solve differential equations using Euler's method, Runge Kutta method, and other built-in methods.

Before the Activity

  • Install TI Connect™ using the TI connectivity cable
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 1 - 9 from the attached PDF file for the class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to the class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Understand the concept of a first order differential equation
  • Understand that the general solution for a first order differential equation is usually a family of functions
  • Compute the tangent line for the member of the family passing through a point without knowing the solution

  • Learn to sketch an approximate solution, given only the slope field
  • Program slope fields on the TI-83 calculator

  • Use Euler's method to solve a differential equation numerically
  • Explore various methods to solve differential equations
  • After the Activity

    Students' answer questions on the Activity sheet.

    Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary