Whitman College: David Guichard's "Calculus, Chapter 2: Instantaneous Rate of Change: The Derivative, Section 2.4: The Derivative Function"

Read Section 2.4 (pages 46-50). In this reading, you will see how limits are used to compute derivatives. A derivative is a description of how a function changes as its input varies. In the case of a straight line, this description is the same at every point, which is why we can describe the slope (another word for the derivative) of an entire function with one slope when it is linear. You will learn that we can do the same for nonlinear functions. The slope, however, will not be constant; it will change as the independent variable changes.