• What is Calculus?
    Calculus is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of humankind. Developed independently by Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz in the 1660’s and 1670’s, calculus is simply a collection of tools and techniques to study change.

    Calculus is the final course in the college preparatory sequence and is designed to prepare students for Calculus II on the college level.  Topics to be covered are limits, functions, analytic geometry, derivatives, differential equations, integration techniques, and applications.


    Calculus AB and Calculus BC are primarily concerned with developing the students’ understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. The courses emphasize a multi-representational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The connections among these representations also are important.

    Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB rather than an enhancement; common topics require a similar depth of understanding. Both courses are intended to be challenging and demanding.

    Broad concepts and widely applicable methods are emphasized. The focus of the courses is neither manipulation nor memorization of an extensive taxonomy of functions, curves, theorems, or problem types. Thus, although facility with manipulation and computational competence are important outcomes, they are not the core of these courses.

    Technology should be used regularly by students and teacher to reinforce the relationships among the multiple representations of functions, to confirm written work, to implement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results.

    Through the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling, the course becomes a cohesive whole rather than a collection of unrelated topics.  These themes are developed using all the functions listed in the prerequisites.


    • Students should be able to work with functions represented in a variety of ways: graphical, numerical, analytical, or verbal.  They should understand the connections among these representations.


    • Students should understand the meaning of the derivative in terms of a rate of change and local linear approximation, and should be able to use derivatives to solve a variety of problems.

    • Students should understand the meaning of the definite integral both as a limit of Riemann sums and as the net accumulation of change, and should be able to use integrals to solve a variety of problems.


    • Students should understand the relationship between the derivative and the definite integral as expressed in both parts of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.


    • Students should be able to communicate mathematics and explain solutions to problems both verbally and in written sentences.


    • Students should be able to model a written description of a physical situation with a function, a differential equation, or an integral.


    • Students should be able to use technology to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and support conclusions.


    • Students should be able to determine the reasonableness of solutions, including sign, size, relative accuracy, and units of measurement.


    • Students should develop an appreciation of calculus as a coherent body of knowledge and as a human accomplishment.