Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds

Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds

MOOC, 3 weeks

This is for you if... you want to find out how maths is at the heart of many aspects of modern life, from playing a game on your mobile to watching a Grand Prix or even just waking up to sunlight in the morning.

Course Description

  • Next start date: 9 November 2015

This free online course approaches maths from a different angle. We take familiar, real world activities, such as motor racing and mobile games like Angry Birds, and use them to uncover the basic elements of calculus. Don't worry - there is no need to have any previous knowledge of calculus, or anything more complex than a general knowledge of numbers and basic algebra. The course covers:

  • differentiation: how things change
  • integration: how we put these changes together to decide what happens in the future
  • and the fundamental theorem of calculus: how differentiation and integration are related.

This course combines articles, activities, and videos of experts in finance, physics and engineering describing why calculus is important in their own particular field. You will be able to join in on-line discussions on a wide range of maths-related topics - from the wear on car tyres to who was responsible for the credit crunch.

'Real World Calculus' from the University of Leicester is part of FutureLearn Choices, a range of short courses that give you a taste of what a degree course will be like, and help you to get ready for university. (But you don't have to be considering a Maths degree to take this course.)

How a MOOC works

MOOCs are flexible courses which allow you to participate at your own pace. Once a course has started you can study the week’s material at a time that suits you. You do not need to be online at the same time as the other students. There is no requirement to visit Leicester - although you would always be very welcome if you want to come and have a look around campus.

If you want to leave your course at any point you may do so, whether or not it has already begun. You can sign up for the same course when it runs again if you want to have another go at it. There is no limit on the number of MOOCs you can take: if you think you have the time to do several simultaneously, that's fine.

If you have any questions about this course, join us for a live online chat with academic tutors and admissions staff.

Key Facts
Department
Mathematics
Contact
Please address all enquiries to FutureLearn.

Why Leicester?

Course Structure

Week 1

Week 1

You will learn how calculus can be used in engineering and how rates of change can be used to understand the forces acting on motor racing drivers. You will work on calculations so that you know how to work out rates of change directly from a graph. You will learn that speed is the rate of change of position, and that acceleration is the rate of change of speed. These are crucial pieces of information when you start to try to use calculus to predict what is happening in the world around us. We will also discuss how the more gentle acceleration and braking that Lewis Hamilton employs has helped him to conserve fuel in F1 races.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Week 2

Week 2

In the second week you will be introduced to how calculus can be used in physics and astronomy, and more specifically in space exploration. On Earth, we model gravity as acting up and down, which means that objects fly along parabolic paths. In space, gravity changes direction towards the centre of the planet or star that is being orbited, making the path elliptic rather than parabolic. You will learn a method for calculating the derivative of a function using limits which is one of the most important developments in mathematical history.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Week 3

Week 3

The third week will look at how calculus can be used in the world of finance. You will see that differentiation is similar to subtraction and that integration involves adding up lots of small things to calculate things such as the total amount we have earned. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that differentiation and integration are the opposites of each other, so that if you do one, and then the other, you end up back where you started. You will see that you can also use integration to calculate the area underneath a curve.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Teaching and Assessment

At the end of each week of the course there is normally a set of multiple choice questions to test your understanding of what you have learned, and this will count towards your overall course score. Please note that this is a FutureLearn score, and is not valid as credit for other courses at the University of Leicester - although a MOOC is a great 'taster' for university learning.

Entry Requirements

There are no entry requirements for the current range of MOOCs available from the University of Leicester. You simply need an internet connection and a computer or tablet device. Some other courses may specify expected levels of understanding or experience in certain areas but this will be made clear before signing up for the course.

English Language Requirements

There are no specific English language requirements for our MOOCs. However, to get the most out of this course you should have a reasonable command of written English.

Fees and Funding

  • Enjoy this course for free - there are no fees for any of our MOOCs.

  • Enjoy this course for free - there are no fees for any of our MOOCs.
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Course Duration Availability
Real World Calculus 3 weeks Apply Now
Course
Real World Calculus
Duration
3 weeks
Availability

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