The lab activities have been written under the presumption that students will be working in groups and will be actively discussing the examples and problems included in each activity. Many of the exercises and problems lend themselves quite naturally to discussion. Some of the more algebraic problems are not so much discussion problems as they are “practice and help” problems.
You do not need to fully understand an example before starting on the associated problems. The intent is that your understanding of the material will grow while you work on the problems.
While working through the lab activities, the students in a given group should be working on the same activity at the same time. Sometimes this means an individual student will have to go a little more slowly than he or she may like and sometimes it means an individual student will need to move on to the next activity before he or she fully grasps the current activity.
Many instructors will want you to focus some of your energy on the way you write your mathematics. It is important that you do not rush through the activities. Write your solutions as if they are going to be graded; that way you will know during lab time if you understand the proper way to write and organize your work.
If your lab section meets more than once a week, you should not work on lab activities between lab sections that occur during the same week. It is OK to work on lab activities outside of class once the entire classroom time allotted for that lab has passed.
Lab 8 on related rates uses a strategy for related rates exercises that your instructor may not use in lecture. It is a multi-step process that may take some time to learn. We recommend that you read the examples from this lab before coming to lab. Too much lab time should not be spent silently reading to yourself.
There are no written solutions for the lab activity problems. Between your group mates, your instructor, and (if you have one) your lab assistant, you should know whether or not you have the correct answers and proper writing strategies for these problems.
Each lab has a section of supplementary exercises; these exercises are fully keyed with solutions. The supplementary exercises are not simply copies of the problems in the lab activities. While some questions will look familiar, many others will challenge you to apply the material covered in the lab to a new type of problem. These questions are meant to supplement your textbook homework, not replace your textbook homework.