Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


“Die Hard Dice inc. produces wooden dice. Suppose they make the oak die out of 20 by 20 by 20 cm cubes. Suppose the error in measurement is at most 0.02 cm. Use linear approximation to estimate the maximum error, the relative error, and percentage error in computing the volume of a cube.”
I administered a calculus test a few days ago. I also had a problem involving James Bond taking photos as he drove past a rocket launch site.
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I enjoy teaching, but writing and grading tests is not my favorite activity. Nor do the students enjoy taking tests. Somehow, we have to get out jollies.
I may have gone a bit overboard in this past test—I added a bonus problem:
“What is the number you dislike the most? Explain.”
My answer was: “23—it’s obnoxious and condescending, which is ridiculous, given the 24, right next to it, is such a lovely number.”
One if the students disliked the number e because it has too many digits (it’s irrational). A number of Chinese students were wary of the number 4, because in Chinese the symbol for 4 is similar to the symbol for death. Most of the responses were either funny or interesting. I left grading the bonus question for last, something to look forward to.
After I finished grading, I sat down to put together a make-up test.
I started with, “Boxed-In inc. produces cardboard boxes…”