GENERAL COURSE OVERVIEW
This course is a two-semester course that follows the syllabus developed by The College Board for the Advance Placement (AP) Calculus AB Examination. My main goal is to structure the course in a manner that will allow my students to not only understand and master the concepts independently, but to also discover the connections and interdependence between the concepts. Because student learning styles vary, all units include a presentation of the concepts using a multi-representational approach. Discussions, activities and assignments are developed to provide students an opportunity to work with the concepts graphically, analytically, numerically and verbally. By taking this approach, every student can utilize their strengths in understanding to help eliminate their weaknesses and develop a deeper, more meaningful appreciation of calculus.
Larson, Ron, Robert P. Hostetler, and Bruce H. Edwards. Calculus of A Single Variable, Early Transcendental Functions, 5th Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
A large part of AP Calculus AB is devoted to stressing functions, both in understanding and application. While computation and analytical processes are thoroughly taught, students are also required to look at all functions graphically, numerically, analytically and verbally. With the advent of technology, it is crucial that students be able to understand, explain, and apply what they have learned to real-world situations and not simply be able to compute the material algebraically.
- 10% Activities/Handouts
- 10% Notebook/Homework
- 15% Quizzes
- 45% Tests
- 20% Final Semester Exam
Exams are given at the end of each unit. Quizzes are given once or twice in the middle of the unit. Most unit exams are given in the same format as the AP Exams with a non-calculator multiple-choice and free response section and calculator active sections of multiple-choice and free response questions. Test grades are scaled (curved) as similarly to the AP Exam as possible if a student comes in to correct the exam (not quizzes) before/after school or during their lunch. Final Exams will be receive the scale directly.
Communication is stressed as a major goal of this course. Students are required to explain and defend their solutions both verbally and in written sentences.
In addition, students are given homework assignments that are graded for completion and understanding. All assignments will be recorded in the composition notebooks along with notes and examples. A notebook grade will be given once per unit. Occasionally, activities and handouts are assigned grades as well.
Homework will be assessed using the following rubric:
Thumbs Up You attempt all problems in a neat and orderly manner including proper justification, and demonstrate a good understanding of the concepts. Certain assignments will be selected as bonus points and a “thumbs up” received on these assignments will add one point to your unit test grade.
Check You attempt at least 75% of the problems in a neat and orderly manner including proper justification and demonstrate a good understanding of the concepts. A “check” does not affect the unit test grade.
Thumbs Down You attempt less than 75% of the problems. A “thumbs down” received on a bonus point assignment will reduce you unit test graded by one point.
Extra Help is Available:
It is the responsibility of the student to request assistance outside of class if they feel they are falling behind. I arrive between 7:15 and 7:30. I usually leave between 3:30 and 4:30 PM. I keep these hours to give assistance when needed. I would prefer to help a student work through a problem, rather than have them quit in frustration. Due to my bus duty assignment, I will not be available on Thursdays from 3:05 to 3:20.
Extra Credit Based on the number of completed lessons in a unit, extra credit points will be added to your tests. Do not ask for extra credit beyond this. If I ever offer it, then it will be for all students and I will notify the entire class.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
The TI-89 graphing calculator is used to help students develop an intuitive feel for concepts before they are approached through typical algebraic techniques. The calculator is used as a tool to illustrate ideas and topics. The four required functionalities of graphing technology that are stressed are:
1. Plot the graph of a function within an arbitrary viewing window.
2. Find the zeros of functions (solve equations numerically).
3. Numerically calculate the derivative of a function.
4. Numerically calculate the value of a definite integral.