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Good question; I seem to recall reading an explanation somewhere and will try to dig it up. Maybe I'll call it "da Calculus." And add a "YO!" for good measure.

I learned to "heart" calculus because I had an amazing calculus professor at community college, Mr. Philley. Before CC, I had never taken math beyond basic algebra and geometry. Calculus clicked for me because my teacher presented it as something normal (i.e. he didn't say things like "this might be hard" or "most students find this part difficult", etc.) and always used real world applications, like finding the velocity of car then finding its acceleration. Or a baseball or whatever.

Calculus really clicked for me when I had to use it outside of a math course. As an ecology student we studied population dynamics over time and space. I ended up really enjoying math so I took the "hard" calculus series, the one for physicists and engineers, while nearly all my classmates took the dumbed down version for requirements. Needless to say, this near high-school flunkout was able to derive and integrate to my hearts content around in circles around many of my classmates!

But, having tutored basic math to calculus I for students with special needs or learning disabilities for 2 years, it is no easy chore to present this stuff! I will always try to teach like Mr. Philley though.

Maybe it's kind of like "The Batman" vs "Batman".

Or maybe it's a Brit/American difference, you know, like where the Brits say someone the was "taken to hospital" and the Americans say "taken to the hospital".

Well, here's one guy's theory:

"Calculus" is the Latin word for the noun "pebble" and the verb "calculare" means "to count", so one might
suppose that in the traditions of the 1600's where Latin was taught far more generally than
today that "THE calculus" meant "THE way to compute".

Have you had a look at Donald Cohen's "Calculus by and for Young People (Ages 7, Yes 7 and Up)" (

I haven't read it, but it looks intriguing (the title is not a joke!)

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