# Bartlett's Calculus Paper: Confusing Calculus Notation & Differentials

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• jedishrfu
In summary, the article discusses a recently published paper by Jonathan Bartlett on improving the teaching of elementary calculus. The paper was reviewed in Mathematics Magazine and received mixed feedback, with some questioning the potential usefulness of the proposed changes. However, the reviewer did agree with the results and acknowledged the importance of evaluating teaching practices. The article also includes a personal anecdote from the author about the importance of clear and honest notation in mathematics education.
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A mathematician says a notational mistake in Calculus can lead to misunderstanding when learning Calculus with respect to differential arithmetic
Bartlett’s Calculus Paper Reviewed in Mathematics Magazine

https://mindmatters.ai/2020/03/bartletts-calculus-paper-reviewed-in-mathematics-magazine/

Walter Bradley Center Fellow Jonathan Bartlett’s paper on fixing long-standing flaws in the teaching of elementary calculus was recently reviewed in Mathematics Magazine.

Bartlett (above left, with his recent book, Calculus from the Ground Up), is delighted that math professionals want to evaluate proposed changes in teaching practice. He tells us, “The review was mixed, but most importantly the reviewer didn’t disagree with the results, only their potential usefulness. Final sentence: ‘The authors make a strong case for a clear and honest notation that facilitates working with differentials, but the formula above is probably just as confusing for students as the shorthand expression.’”

I once entered the room of my professor at university and recognized a postal package addressed to Prof. xyz. Prof. xyz was the head of the didactics department, responsible for what happens in math at schools.

I wondered and asked: "Oh, you send xyz a package?" - "No," he answered, "that was mistakenly sent to me. I would only sent xyz a package which ticks."

The above article explains why.

## 1. What is the purpose of Bartlett's Calculus Paper?

The purpose of Bartlett's Calculus Paper is to address the confusion surrounding calculus notation and differentials, and to provide a clear and concise explanation of these concepts.

## 2. Who is the target audience for this paper?

The target audience for Bartlett's Calculus Paper is anyone who is studying or struggling with calculus, particularly those who are confused by the notation and use of differentials.

## 3. What makes this paper different from other resources on calculus notation?

This paper is unique in that it specifically focuses on the confusing aspects of calculus notation and differentials, providing clear examples and explanations to help readers better understand these concepts.

## 4. Can this paper be used as a standalone resource for learning calculus?

No, this paper is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to learning calculus. It is intended to supplement other resources and provide clarification on confusing notation and differentials.

## 5. Is this paper only applicable to a specific type of calculus?

No, Bartlett's Calculus Paper is applicable to all types of calculus, including differential, integral, and multivariable calculus. The concepts and notation discussed are relevant to all branches of calculus.

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