I’ll throw my hat in the ring. Calculus is about *limits*. Without limits, we can estimate a lot of things. We can estimate how fast a car is going by measuring where it is at a couple different times and seeing how far it has gone. We can estimate how much water is in a lake by measuring the distance across the lake at a bunch of places and adding up rectangles. We can estimate a lot.

Calculus allows us to take those estimates and see what happens to them if we allow the time step or the rectangle width to get really really small. As small as possible. It turns out that we can do math with those really small numbers, and that we can use that math to solve really important problems like how to send a spaceship to mars or how to make a better car engine.

Calculus allows us to take estimation, which we know how to do pretty well, and turn it into exact results, which is much harder.

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