# Letters from a Calculus Class

Dear Newton,

C’mon, dude. You already get credit for the laws of motion, that cool apple story, and the tasty fig cookies. Let me have this.

-Leibniz

Dear Student,

I know it stings to fail a test that badly. But hey, silver lining: you’re so far into the area below the curve that you’re practically an integral.

-Teacher

Dear Student,

I’ll put it this way: You don’t seem to understand me yet, but you keep getting closer.

-Limits

Dear “Ordinary” Differential Equations,

How does it feel to know you’re not special?

-Partial Differential Equations

Dear “Partial” Differential Equations,

How does it feel to know you’re not complete?

-Ordinary Differential Equations

Dear Mean Value Theorem,

Please, show mercy! I beg you, have a heart!

Imploringly,
The Kind Value Theorem

Dear Local Maximum,

Mr. Big Shot, huh? You are just a mid-sized fish in a very big pond, my friend. Watch yourself.

-The Global Maximum

Dear Television Series,

Pssh. You call yourselves “series”? You’re finite! What fun is that?

-Geometric Series

Dear Related Rates Problems,

You guys are like snowflakes—each of you is totally unique! And if there are enough of you, it’s safer to call off school and stay home.

-Students

Dear Teacher,

I know you called this unit Optimization, but I’m feeling more like Pessimization right now.

-Struggling Student

Dear Global Minimum,

Whenever I feel down about myself, I just look at you and I think, “Hey, at least I’m not that guy.” So thanks for being the lowest of the low!

-Local Minimum

Dear Student,

To answer your question: Yes, I would say that the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus is something you should know for this calculus course. It’s very useful. Crucial, even. Heck, you might even call it “fundamental.”

Dear Teacher,

You misunderstood me! When I called the behavior at that point “discontinuous,” I meant it like, “Dis be continuous, mon.”

-Student

Dear Lindsay Lohan,

Now I can’t finish a calculus test without whispering (and then screaming) “THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST.” Thanks a lot.

-Student

Dear Physics,

If acceleration is the derivative of velocity, and velocity is the derivative of position, then what is position the derivative of? Did I just blow your mind?

-Stoner mathematician

Dear 1950s Alabama,

What’s your problem? Integration is easy—here, I’ll show you.

-Calculus student

Dear Product Rule and Chain Rule,

I finally tracked you down! Don’t deny it: You’re my parents, aren’t you?

-Quotient Rule

Dear Worker,

First, you endanger everybody on this crew by pulling that ladder away from the wall at a constant velocity. And now you want help creating a mathematical model for the consequences of your irresponsibility? Here’s a consequence: You’re fired.

Dear Derivative,

You’re so inconsiderate. It’s like you don’t even notice I’m there!

-Constant term

Dear Shepherd,

I realize it saves fence if you use the river as one border of your pasture, but aren’t you worried about us falling into the water? I’m not sure we can swim!

Dear Polynomials,

Want to race? You can even have a head start.

-Exponentials

Dear Students,

Remember, doing a u-substitution is like the aftermath of a break-up. You go through and clear away all the signs of your ex, until there’s nothing left but you.

Dear Teacher,

If the best student in our class maintains an A, and the worst student manages to raise his grade until it’s also an A, wouldn’t you have to give the rest of us A’s, based on the squeeze theorem?

-C student

Dear f(x) = 1782x2 + 1,

I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got a huge concavity.

Dear Infinite Sequence,

Never mind. We thought somebody said “infinite sequins.”

-Costume Designers

Dear Teacher,

Why did you take off points for the question about finding a formula for dy/dx for the curve x2 + y2 = 16? I mean, sure, I didn’t actually write anything down, but I figured it was implicit.

-A student

Dear Monarchy,

Shall we use the guillotine? Or do you prefer that we revolve this rope around the axis of your neck? Vive la resistance!

-Solids of Violent Revolution

## 21 thoughts on “Letters from a Calculus Class”

1. These are great!

2. Dear inventors of the Cambridge math curriculum,
WHY???
A frustrated student.

3. So many groans. 😉 Thank you. 🙂

4. urbanmythcafe says:

Wonderful!

5. This is why I keep trying to learn math: so I can get the jokes.

6. Dear e^x,
You stay just how you are. Don’t change a thing.
-Derivatives

7. Thanks, everybody! Calcdave and coruscantbookshelf, I may work yours into a similar post in the future, if you don’t mind. 🙂 And Karen, I’m proud to encourage your intellectual journey, though I suspect you may eventually reclassify groaners like these under “reasons NOT to learn math.”

8. George, to his teacher:

I have now integrated my preconceived ideas and the enlightenments engendered by yourself, but I still have trouble differentiating between “the limit of” and “the limits of”.

George’s teacher, aside:

I think George would be better off writing a novel. he could call it “The Limits of Continuity”.

1. I’m sure it would include plenty of tangents.

1. “Georgie darling, can we stop osculating and just get on with it?”

9. Emily says:

Dear Sleepy Ben,

You remain my favorite of all time.

Love,
Emily

1. Dear Surprisingly Wakeful Emily,

where am i? i think i came here on a plane and it’s full of rainclouds but also buttered scones, so i think i like it but i will keep you posted.

-sleepy ben

10. Mark says:

These are brilliant, and I’m totally going to share them with my calculus class next term. My only complaint is that the “nothing to lose but their chains” surface of revolution should have been a catenary.😊

11. Red says:

All excellent, but… What have I missed with the Shepard and his Sheep 😮

1. Lance says:

It’s a joke about the optimisation of fencing that covers the most area. The best solution is a 50×25 wall for 100m.

So the sheep can fall to the water

12. Lance Patrick Abarquez says:

Dear Physics,

If acceleration is the derivative of velocity, and velocity is the derivative of position, then what is position the derivative of? Did I just blow your mind?

-Stoner mathematician

Wait, isn’t it the other way around?(position is the derivative of velocity-> (velocity)’=position