This week, for the fourth consecutive year, the Calculus III with Analytic Geometry class welcomed Dr. Wood, a professor of Economics at the University of Tampa. Dr. Wood showed students how constrained optimization is applied in consumer theory. Using the Lagrangian approach taught in Calculus III, they worked through the neoclassical model of consumer behavior to derive how agents make optimal consumption choices subject to scarcity, how they can apply the results of the model to derive a demand curve, and how they can examine how changes in the world impact behavior by moving us along or shifting that demand curve.

They also explored how this shows the impact of consumption and income on consumer happiness (that we have diminishing marginal utility for goods/services, as well as income). This is the basis of a model (and its more advanced variants) used by governments, companies, think tanks/NPOs, etc. to understand and predict behavior.

Dr. Wood’s presentation gave our students a unique opportunity to see how Calculus III is applied beyond the classroom. 

Tampa Prep Calculus III students stand in class to learn from a University of Tampa professor.Left to Right: Seniors Ruijia Lyu, Adam Thompson, Conner White, Caden Schmidt, and Dr. Wood.