What are some good ways to motivate the material on infinite series that appears at the end of a typical American Calculus II course?
My students in this course are generally from biochemistry, computer science, economics, business, and physics (with a few humanities folks taking the course for fun) - not just math majors.
I have struggled some in the past to motivate the infinite series material to these students. For one, it doesn't fit with the rest of Calc II, which is on the integral. Over the years I have "converged" on telling them that the main point of the unit is Taylor series and that the rest of the material is there primarily so that we have the tools we need in order to understand Taylor series. Then I illustrate some of the many uses of Taylor series (mainly function approximation, at this level). This approach works better than anything I've come up with thus far with respect to getting my students to care about infinite series, but I feel a little like I'm selling the rest of the material short by subordinating it to Taylor series. Does anyone have other ways of motivating infinite series that they would like to share? (Again, only a small percentage of the students in my class are math majors.)
Background: The material in this unit typically consists of sequences, basic series (like geometric and telescoping ones), a slew of tests for convergence (e.g., integral test, ratio test, root test), an introduction to power series, Taylor and Maclaurin series, and maybe binomial series.