CIE IGCSE Maths

Revision Notes

2.16.3 Differentiation - Problem Solving

What problems could involve differentiation?

  • Differentiation allows analysis of how one quantity changes as another does
  • The derived function (derivative) gives a measure of the rate of change
  • Problems involving a variable quantity can involve differentiation
    • How the area of a rectangle changes as its length varies
    • How the volume of a cylinder changes as its radius varies
    • How the position of a car changes over time (ie its speed)
  • Problems based on the graph of a curve may also arise
    • The distance between two turning points
    • The area of a shape formed by points on the curve such as turning points and axes intercepts
  • Ensure you are familiar with Differentiation – Basics and Differentiation – Turning Points

Prob Solv Notes fig1, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

How do I solve problems involving differentiation?

  • Problems generally fall into two categories:1. Graph based problems
    • These problems are based around the graph of a curve and its turning points

Prob Solv Notes Graph eg pt1, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

Prob Solv Notes Graph eg pt2, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

2. Maximum/Minimum problems

    • The maximum or minimum values have a meaning in the question
      eg. the maximum volume of a box made from a flat sheet of material
      eg. the minimum height of water in a reservoir
    • These are sometimes called optimisation problems
      The maximum or minimum value gives the optimal (ideal/best)
      solution to the problem

 

Prob Solv Notes Max_Min eg, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

Exam Tip

Diagrams can help – if you are not given one, draw one (a sketch is usually good enough – add to the diagram as you go through the question).

Make sure you know how to find the areas and volumes of basic shapes, eg. area of squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, volume of cubes, cuboids, cylinders.

Early parts of questions often ask you to “show that” a result is true – even if you can’t do this part of the question, the result may still be used in other parts allowing you to score some marks.

Worked Example

Prob Solv Example fig2 sol, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Maths revision notes

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