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AP Calculus BC

XZ-CalcBC-14/15 ver.

Course outline
By Ms. Xiaojie Zhang

Course Overview:
AP Calculus BC consists of a full high school academic year of work. It is comparable to calculus courses in colleges and
universities and gives students a strong foundation for the math and science courses they will take in college. It is my
expectation that students who take this course will seek college credit or college placement by taking AP Calculus BC Exam
at the end of this course.
AP Calculus BC includes all AP Calculus AB topics and BC topics described in AP Calculus Course Description from the
College Board. To enrich this course, topics beyond AP exam requirements will be taught after the completion of AP Exams.
AP Calculus BC is concerned with developing the students understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing
experience with its methods and applications. The courses emphasize a multiple-representational approach to calculus, with
concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The connections among
these representations also are important.

My Goal:
AP Calculus BC is intended to be challenging and demanding; it requires a depth of understanding of fundamental and
common topics in calculus.
My major goals in teaching AP Calculus BC are: 1) for the students to learn how to use precise language to describe these
concepts and the relationships between ideas; 2) to enable students to appreciate the beauty of calculus and receive a strong
foundation that will give them the tools to succeed in future mathematics and science courses.
Students know that they will work harder than ever, and our expectation is that this hard work will enable them to succeed in
this course and in AP Calculus BC Exam.

Primary textbook: (The chapter numbers in my course outline follow this textbook)
Calculus-Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic, AP Edition, Third Edition, by Finney, Demana, Waits, and Kennedy.
Supplementary textbook:
Calculus of a Single Variable, Seventh Edition, by Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards

Supplementary Materials:
See the course syllabus submitted to College Board

AP Calculus BC Course Outline

FIRST SIX WEEKS: Prerequisites, Limits and Continuity, and Derivatives (Chapters 1, 2, and 3)
5 days: Prerequisites for Calculus (Chapter 1)
Elementary functions: Linear, power, exponential/logarithmic,
trigonometric/inverse trigonometric
Graphs and Models and Fitting Models to Data
Parametric equations

Review and Test

5 days: Limits and Continuity (Chapter 2)

A preview of Calculus with a shoe sale worksheet: think in term of rates of change and accumulation
Activity 1: Beach Ball Toss Lab collect data, graph, and find a model to the data, find average velocities
and a velocity at an exact time.
Finding Limits Numerically and Graphically
Evaluating Limits Analytically
Continuity and One-sided Limits
Vertical Asymptotic Behavior and Infinite Limits
Horizontal Asymptotic Behavior and Limits at Infinity
Tangent line to a curve
Slope of a curve at a point
Review and Test
20 days: Derivatives (Chapter 3)
Definition of derivative
Estimating the Derivative numerically and graphically at a point
Local Linear Approximations
Sketching the graph of the derivative of a function whose graph is given
When does a derivative fail to exist?
Basic rules for differentiation
The chain rule
Implicit differentiation
Derivatives of trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions
Higher-order derivatives
Velocity and other rates of change
Activity 2: A 20 Minutes Ride Find average velocities in different time intervals and velocities at
different time during their ride by using the time-distance data recorded during the ride
Review and Test

SECOND SIX WEEKS: Applications of Derivatives and The Definite Integral (Chapter 4 and 5)
15 days: Applications of Derivatives (Chapter 4)
Extrema on an Interval
Rolles Theorem and the Mean Value Theorem
Increasing and Decreasing Functions and the First Derivative Test
Concavity and the Second Derivative Test
Curve Sketching: Sketching graphs given certain information about f, f, and f
Average and instantaneous rates of change
Distance, velocity, and acceleration
Optimization problems
Activity 3: Optimization Project- students are to design an optimum can
Using the tangent line to approximate function values
Newtons Method
Differentials and changes
Related rates
Activity 4: Tootsie Roll Pops Lab Find the related rates of change
Review and Test
15 days: The Definite Integral (Chapter 5)
RAM (Rectangle Approximation Method)
Riemann sums and definite integrals
Activity 5: Find Area of a Land on a map - students are to use RAM to find area
Using a definite integral to find area, volume, average value of a function
Definite integrals and antiderivatives
Mean Value Theorem for Definite Integrals
Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

Approximating the definite integral: Trapezoidal Rule, Simpsons Rule, Error Analysis
Activity 5 revisit: Find Area of a Land on a map - students are to use Trapezoidal Rule or Simpsons
Rule to find area of the same land and do error analysis on different methods.
Review and Test

THIRD SIX WEEKS: Differential Equations and Mathematical Modeling

and The Applications of Definite Integrals (Chapter 6 and 7)
15 days: Differential Equations and Mathematical Modeling (Chapter 6)
Slope fields - Numerical and graphical methods
Activity 6: Drawing Slope Fields All students in the class will do this activity together Eulers method
Antiderivatives and the indefinite integral
Techniques of integration:
integration by parts
trigonometric substitution
partial fractions
Variable-separable differential equations
Exponential growth and decay
Logistic growth
Review and Test
15 days: The Applications of Definite Integrals (Chapter 7)
Using the definite integral to discuss
-Net change: motion on a line and consumption over time
-Area a region between two curves
-Volume of solids with known cross sections
-Volumes of a solid of revolution: The Disk Method
The Washer Method
The Shell Method
Activity 7: Play-Doh Lab Hands on activity to help students see how solids are generated
by a disk or a washer, or a shell.
-Length of a curve
-Surface area of a solid of revolution
-Work, fluid force
Review and Midterm Exam
FOURTH SIX WEEKS: LHopitals Rule and Improper Integrals (Chapter 8)
and Parametric, Vector, and Polar Functions (Chapter 10)
15 days: LHopitals Rule and Improper Integrals (Chapter 8)
LHopitals Rule and Indeterminate forms (

, 0, -, 1 , 0 , 0 )

Relative rates of growth

Activity 8: Comparing different ways of saving money to see how the relative rates of growth
affect the balance over different periods of time.
Improper integrals (partial fractions and trig substitutionsdone with Chapter 6):
Infinite Limits of Integration
Integrands with Infinite Discontinuities
Test for convergence and divergence
Review and Test
15 days: Parametric, Vector, and Polar Functions (Chapter 10)
Parametric functions:
Parametric Curves
Derivative at a point
Length of a curve

Surface area of a solid of revolution

Activity 9: Involute of a circle: Students to derive parametric equations for the involute, find the length of
the involute.
Vectors: Two dimensional vectors
Angle between vectors
Vector operations
Using vectors to describe motion in the plane
Activity 10: A Satellite in Circular Orbit: Students to coordinatize the orbit plane, find the acceleration,
find orbital period of the satellite.
Polar Functions:
Polar coordinates and pole graphs
Slopes of polar curves and horizontal and vertical tangent lines
Enclosed area and length of a polar curve
Activity 11: A Small polar gallery: Students to experience some of those polar curves.
Review and Test

FIFTH SIX WEEKS: Infinite Series (Chapter 9)

15 days: Geometric sequences: Definitions, graphs, and limits
Activity 12: Connecting Geometry and Sequences: Student to construct regular polygons inscribed in unit
circles with at least one side of each polygon perpendicular to the x-axis, prove that perimeter
of each polygon in the sequence is determine its limit.
Power series: Term-by-term differentiation and integration to find power series of new functions
Taylors series/Maclaurin series
Lagrange form of the remainder
Tests for convergence/divergence:
nth term test
Direct Comparison
Ratio Test
Integral Test
Limit Comparison Test
Alternating Series Test (Leibnizs Theorem)
Radius and Interval of convergence
Review and Test
15 days: Exam Preparation


After the AP exam:
Review the open ended problems on the AP exam
Introduce Hyperbolic Functions and their applications
Year End Project choices:
- Projects chosen from:
Student Research Projects in Calculus by Marcus Cohen and etc., published by MAA
Problems for Student Investigation by Michael Jackson and etc., published by MAA
- Read and share journal reflections: Fermats Engigma by Simon Singh