Interactive Self-Study Module: Solving Ordinary Differential Equations


This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain how to solve ordinary differential equations. It then provides a simulation and example problems to allow the user to test themselves. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in screencasts, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts.
  2. Watch the screencasts that describe the Euler and Runge-Kutta methods of solving ordinary differential equations.
  3. Review important equations for solving ordinary differential equations.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to better understand different methods of solving ordinary differential equations.
  5. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  6. Answer the ConcepTest.
  7. Look at the list of  key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  •  This module is intended for a kinetics/reaction engineering course.
Before studying this module, you should:
  • Understand ordinary differential equations.
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Solve sets of initial-value, ordinary differential equations numerically using software such as Polymath, Mathcad, MATLAB, Python, or Mathematica.