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Unformatted text preview: Example A spotlight is on the ground 20 ft away from a wall and a 6 ft tall person is walking toward the wall at a rate of 5 2 ft/sec. How fast is the height of the shadow changing when the person is 8 ft from the wall? Solution: The variables marked in the following picture † , are: • x ( t ) = changing distance of the person from the spotlight at time t , • z ( t ) = changing distance of the person from the wall at time t ( z ( t ) = 20 x ( t )), and • y ( t ) = changing height of the shadow on the wall. We are given that z ( t ) = 5 2 (negative because the distance function z ( t ) is decreasing with time); we are also given that at a particular instant t ? in time, z ( t ? ) = 8 , so x ( t ? ) = 20 8 = 12 . The problem is then asking for the rate of change of the height of the shadow at the instant t ? ; that is, we want y ( t ? ) . To determine properties about y ( t ) from the known rate z ( t ), it is necessary to relate the quantities y ( t ) and z ( t ). This can be done by noting that there are two similar right triangles in the picture given above: •...
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2012 for the course MTH 132 taught by Professor Kihyunhyun during the Fall '10 term at Michigan State University.
 Fall '10
 KIHYUNHYUN
 Calculus

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