Rates of Change in Applied Contexts Other than Motion: AP Calculus AB/BC Study Guide
Welcome to Calculus NonMotion Adventures! 📉🔍
Ready to dive into the wondrous world of rates of change in contexts other than motion? Forget rockets blasting off or cars speeding around curves. Today, we’re tackling scenarios where calculus brings clarity to everyday situations—no roadmaps required. Strap in for some mathematical joyrides through intriguing problems!
Understanding Rates of Change: It's All About the Context
The beauty of calculus lies in its ability to model changes in a plethora of contexts. If you ever found yourself baffled by phrases like, "the rate at which this happens," and thought, "Is this rocket science?"—good news! It's pure calculus, and it's easier than you think.
Imagine you have a function, ( f(x) ), modeling something delightful, like the amount of ice cream (in scoops) being eaten at a party, ( t ) hours after the party started. To find out how that ice cream consumption is changing (like, are people going nuts or easing up?), you'd take the derivative, ( f'(x) ). The derivative gives you the rate of change by showing how much the quantity is increasing or decreasing at any given time.
A StepbyStep Walkthrough: Calculating with Flair ✏️
Let’s bring this to life with a whimsical example.
Karen and Her Pogo Stick Antics:
Karen, your favorite daredevil, is pogo stick jumping. Her height above the ground is recorded by the function: [ H(t) = 3 \sin \left(\frac{t}{10}\right) + \frac{1}{2} ]
Want to know how fast her height is changing after 10 seconds of hopping? Here’s how we go about it:

First, take the derivative of ( H(t) ) to find ( H'(t) ). [ H(t) = 3 \sin \left(\frac{t}{10}\right) + 0.5 ] [ H'(t) = 3 \cdot \frac{1}{10} \cos \left(\frac{t}{10}\right) ] [ H'(t) = 0.3 \cos \left(\frac{t}{10}\right) ]

Evaluate ( H'(t) ) at ( t = 10 ). [ H'(10) = 0.3 \cos \left(1\right) ] [ H'(10) \approx 0.162 ]
Karen’s height is rapidly changing at a rate of approximately 0.162 feet per second 10 seconds into her jumpfest. That's about as smooth as her pogoing skills—go Karen! 👏
Try It Out! 📝
Take a shot at these practice problems to fortify your newfound prowess:

Thomas' Instagram Stardom:
Thomas’s latest Instagram post is gaining likes at an exponential pace. The number of likes ( t ) days after posting is given by: [ L(t) = 200 \cdot e^{0.1t} ]
Calculate the instantaneous rate of change in the number of likes 5 days after he posts it.

Jen’s Reservoir Refill:
Jen is filling up her car’s gas tank. The volume of gas in the tank, measured in liters, ( t ) minutes after she starts, is given by: [ G(t) = 300 + 4t ]
What is the instantaneous rate of change of the volume of gas 4 minutes after she begins pumping?
Answers and Solutions 🌟
Let's see if your calculations hit the bullseye:

Thomas' Instagram Fame:
To determine how fast the likes are piling up 5 days postupload:
[ L(t) = 200 \cdot e^{0.1t} ] [ L'(t) = 200 \cdot 0.1 \cdot e^{0.1t} = 20 \cdot e^{0.1t} ] [ L'(5) = 20 \cdot e^{0.5} \approx 32.97 ]
So, Thomas’s like count is skyrocketing at a rate of approximately 32.97 likes per day after 5 days.

Jen’s Gas Guzzler:
For the gas tank’s volume change:
[ G(t) = 300 + 4t ] [ G'(t) = 4 ] [ G'(4) = 4 ]
The gas volume is increasing steadily at a rate of 4 liters per minute, permanently (no need for derivatives here—straightforward like pouring water!).
Key Terms to Know 📚
 Derivative: It’s the rate at which a function changes at any given point—think of it as your function’s best gossip source about how things are morphing over time.
 Negative: This isn’t just a bad attitude; it’s a value less than zero or a downward trend—a dip in your ice cream consumption, perhaps?
 Rates of Change: These measure how quickly something is changing. It could be likes on a post, liters in a tank, or even your breath misting up a mirror on a cold day.
Conclusion: Mastering the Derivative Magic Wand 🪄
Congratulations, adventurers! You’ve now wielded the derivative like a pro wizard, unraveling rates of change in various nonmotile contexts. Whether it’s pogo stick heights, Instagram likes, or gas tanks, you’ve got the calculus spells that reveal just how dynamic our world truly is. Keep practicing, and soon, you’ll be diving into every derivative dilemma with the flair of a math maestro! 🎩✨