So here’s a story I want to tell more effectively. People in math courses often ask “What will this ever be good for?” But in a recent discussion on LinkedIn someone asked for an easy way to cut a parabolic curve to support the mirror for a solar heater, and the simplest method (demonstrated in the video below) is based on a fact from calculus.
What I want to learn in this course is not just how to improve the quality of that video (though that is certainly part of what I need!) but also how to most effectively bring out both the technical message about the mathematical facts involved and the meta-message about how mathematics is actually often used in applications without any explicit reference to equations or calculations.
P.S. After I referred to this in the LinkedIn discussion, Linda Fahlberg-Stojanovska created a graphical illustration of the process which complements the video.