Time Manipulation: A How-To Guide

Liz Ratliff, Math, East Mecklenburg High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


Sometimes, seeing the entirety of a function is useful.  Sometimes, it can be overwhelming. In this unit, students will learn to manipulate time to focus on the important parts of a function.  Do they need to see what is happening at a specific time?  They can slow everything down and zoom in on that instant!  Do they need to see what is happening at the far ends of the function? Let’s speed up time and zoom to infinity!  In this unit, students will use their new-found time manipulation powers to find the limits of functions which will allow them to determine if functions are continuous and then to apply the intermediate value theorem.  Students will start the unit with a debate about what “close” means and why infinitesimals might not actually exist and will end up climbing over desks and trying to escape from the classroom without using the door.