Monthly Archives: November 2016

Preview Edition of Calculus for Everyone Available

BP Learning’s Calculus book (tentatively titled “Calculus for Everyone”) is currently available as a preview edition. If you are wanting to check out our upcoming Calculus book in its present form (it is far from finished, with sections and chapters missing), you can check it out at the link below:

Calculus for Everyone

It is priced at cost so you can give feedback. If you teach Calculus to more than 20 students per year, email us at and we will send you one for free.

The goal of this book is to focus on the concepts and intuitions behind Calculus, rather than formally proving every stage. No limits, few theorems, just a step-by-step walkthrough of what Calculus is, why it works, and how to use it.

I have had many people tell me after taking Calculus (sometimes many years of it) that they never really understood what Calculus was even about. This book, rather than focusing on the arcane minutiae, focuses on the core principles of Calculus and how to apply it.

Fall 2016 – Week 13 Class Notes

We have two more classes before the end of the semester, but NO CLASS NEXT WEEK for Thanksgiving!


We started working on object-oriented programming and arrays this week. Remember, the goal of objects is to package up a bunch of related information into a single unit. Whenever you have information about a subject that all belongs together, creating an object is a good way to go.

We also talked about arrays, which allow us to store sequences of values (usually, arrays are used to store similar values, but they don’t have to).

We need to be thinking about what we want to do next semester. Some options:

  1. Simple games in JavaScript
  2. Dealing with server-side programming
  3. Communicating with and using third-party services like Google maps

The start of the next year we will review and finish the book, but then we need to proceed to an application area.

For you to do this week:

  • Read chapter 13
  • Turn in your section 3 assignment


For some reason, the Tennis game did not work on a lot of your devices. I am investigating this over the week. I have used this game several times before and it has always worked well, so we will figure it out.

I am working on the next book chapter, and will hopefully have it done by Friday (UPDATE – the chapter is now complete).

Please spend some extra time reviewing chapters you aren’t familiar with. A lot of you were not familiar with pull-down resistors, which is a requirement for knowing how to put this stuff together.


Keep on trucking. We are going through chapter 17 this week.

Fall 2016 – Week 12 Class Notes

Somebody notified me that I had not posted class notes this week! Many apologies!


This week is chapter 12. It is a bit esoteric, so if you don’t understand it all the way, that’s fine. Save it for later in your programming career – you will have questions about how something is working, and you can come back to this chapter and say, “aha! That is what was being discussed!” It is included where it is simply because we are talking about functions and scopes, and a lot of people in JavaScript use scopes in funny ways, and this will help you understand what is going on if you read someone else’s code.

Next week we are getting into objects and arrays, which will both greatly expand your programming abilities, and should also be back to a topic that is more in line with your common intuitions.


We did an analog Arduino example in class, so read the corresponding chapter (chapter 14). This next week we are going to do one more Arduino lesson, and then we will get back to normal electronics.


Not much to say – chapter 16 is next!

Fall 2016 – Week 11 Class Notes

We are approaching the end of the semester! I do not have plans for next semester laid out yet, but current plans are to keep the same time/place. Computer programming will be mostly through the book, so we will have to imagine something new together – maybe do a small JavaScript-based video game, or do some project-oriented JavaScript. Electronics will focus on power, motors, and probably audio. Calculus will go into more depth on the topics we have covered so far. Anyway, for this week:

Computer Programming

We have reached the point in computer programming which requires a lot of abstract thought. I see that some of you are struggling with the concept of functions. First of all, functions have a very specific syntax. You need to be sure you know how how it works. You need to understand the role of parameters, local variables, and return values.

Some people are confused by the stack. Remember that computers are stupid. Conceptually it is fairly simple – every time you call a function it gets its own scope with its own set of local variables, and when it is done it has to “return” the place that it was called from. However, when the JavaScript language implements this, it has to be very specific about how it happens. That is where the stack comes in. The stack is *how* JavaScript implements giving functions their own scope of local variables, and *how* JavaScript knows where to go back to. As a programmer, you will never directly access the stack – that is merely so that you know what JavaScript is doing to enable the magical ability to call functions and return to where you were when it is done. Knowing how it is implemented will be important in the next chapter when we do some more advanced things with it.

Remember that this is the second week to go over chapter 11. If you are struggling you should review chapter 10 as well. Remember, I am available for email consultation if you need it! The Section 3 assignment will be due on November 16th.


Today we introduced the Arduino. Be sure to download the Arduino environment and the USB drivers to do your homework. We are not going to be spending much time on the Arduino as it is more programming than electronics, but if you want to know more there are a bunch of links here.

This week we are doing *two* chapters – 12 and 13. They are both very short, and we did most of the projects in class. I will grade your quizzes this week.


We started Integrals this week! Remember to finish your quizzes, and then read the first chapter on Integrals.