Lab 1: Functions And Getting Started with Syntax (Due Monday 10/7/2019)


Throughout the semester, you will do 4-5 labs outside of class in groups of two. The purpose of these labs is to get you to explore slightly more in-depth aspects of calculus than we would have time to cover in class or on the regular homeworks. Sometimes, the exercises you do in lab will make it easier to understand concepts we go over later in the course, so it is important that you put in as much effort as you can and ask questions on Microsoft Teams if you get stuck.

On each lab, you will have a choice between two mathematical programming languages: Maple and Sage. Maple is a proprietary standalone program with lots of toolbars and visual editing tools to help you. Sage is free, open source alternative based on Python and has excellent, widespread community support, though it has slightly fewer visual tools to help you. Sage is recommended for the course since it is free, which means you can use it indefinitely beyond the course and Ursinus, and since Python is ubiquitous across the sciences and digital humanities (so practicing Python syntax will benefit most students). But Maple has been a tradition in our department for some time, so you are welcome to do the labs in that as well (and you can switch back and forth between each lab if you'd like). Be aware, though, that you will have to be connected to the Ursinus network in order to use Maple, while you can use Sage anywhere you go upon successful installation.