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Calculus BC Syllabus


In this course, 11th and 12th grade students review and develop skills learned in
Algebra 2 and Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus and continue into higher-level
mathematics teaching them to understand and perform mathematical concepts
graphically, numerically, algebraically, and verbally and understand the
connections between these methods. This course will also show physical and
realistic applications of mathematics and how math is a great tool for problem


This course is comprised of students that have successfully completed the typical
progression of high-school mathematics courses (Algebra 2 and Trigonometry).
Students that have earned credit for a Pre-calculus course meet this
requirement. Students are expected to have a solid background in algebraic
manipulation and in graphing elementary functions.


The primary textbook used in this course is Calculus: Early Transcendental

Functions (3rd Ed.) by Robert T. Smith and Rolland B. Minton (McGraw-Hill
Companies, 2007, ISBN 978-0-07-327657-1). Other resources include online
applets and resources, shared work among colleagues in the AP community, AP
released questions, as well as my own written worksheets and tests.

Teaching Strategies

1. Each unit is taught in such a way that students are provided with
opportunities to analyze the topic algebraically, geometrically, numerically,
graphically, and verbally and are asked to analyze the connections
between these different representations

2. Students are given various forms of assignments, such as classwork,

homework, projects, activities, and lab work that require them to practice
and explore the skills being discussed with them during lecture.
Oftentimes, units are introduced with a project that allows the students to
formulate their own techniques for solving a presented problem. An
example of this technique I used in my classroom this year was when
students where asked to used Lego blocks to estimate the area under a
curved function and analyze how different formations and different sizes of
Lego blocks would affect the accuracy of their area approximations (Intro
into Riemann Sums).
3. The use of graphing calculators is an integral part of my Calculus class.
Every student is provided with a TI-84 graphing calculator and these
calculators are used on a regular basis to graph functions to analyze their
characteristics (such as zeros, maximums, inflection points, etc.),
investigate limits of functions, use the table feature, show slope fields and
solutions curves, and many other operations.

4. Throughout the year students take quizzes and tests, all of which are
given with multiple choice sections and free response sections with
calculator usage following the allowed usage on the AP exam. Tests and
quizzes are graded as they would be on the AP exam.

5. All units contain material covered in previous units and this material is
presented on their tests. Students are often given warm up problems that
contain material they have not practiced very recently. Pop Unit Circle
quizzes are given on a regular basis to ensure that students know the
basic values of trigonometric functions.

6. On all projects, lab work, most activities, and most tests, students are
required to provide written explanations and justifications of their work.
These explanations must provide their thinking and computational process
that is clearly and concisely written.

Course Outline
Unit 1: Functions and Their Graphs (2 weeks, 1 Test)

Activity: Transforming Graphs- analyzing shifts, reflections, and stretching of a


Students will:

 Be able to understand the definition of a function and recognize equations

and their graphs. Examples of functions include lines, logarithmic
functions, exponential functions, and conic sections.

 Understand Domain and Range

 Know the definitions of even and odd functions and what their graphs look

 Learn how to derive composite functions as well as inverse functions.

 Be able to use a graphing calculator graph equations and to solve
problems such as finding the zeroes of an equation or calculating minima
and maxima.

 Review trigonometric identities as well as trigonometric functions and their

graphs. Students will also be responsible for understanding the unit circle
and how to use it to graph trigonometric functions.

 Learn how to use and verify trigonometric identities as well as the

trigonometric formulas such as the sum and difference formulas and the
multiple-angle and product-to-sum formulas.

 Know the definitions of inverse trigonometric functions and how to graph

them and evaluate them at given points

Unit 2: Limits and Continuity (2 weeks, 1 Test)

Limit Lab- Calculating limits algebraically, graphically and numerically

Students will:

 Learn the definition of a secant line and how to calculate the equation of a
secant line as well as how to use approximation to find the slope of a
curve and the equation of a tangent line.

 Understand the concept of a limit, how to find limits numerically,

graphically, as well as algebraically and know the properties of limits.

 Know how to calculate one-sided limits as well as limits at infinity and at


 Learn the definition of continuity, how to recognize discontinuities in an

equation, and how to remove removable discontinuities.

 Know the Intermediate Value Theorem and Extreme Value Theorem.

 Use the definition of a limit to calculate the equation of a tangent line


 Understand the relationship between tangent lines and rates of change.

Unit 3: Derivatives (4 weeks, 1 Test)

Activity: Zooming-in with a calculator and local linearity.

Students will:

 Understand the definition of the derivative and what it means graphically,

numerically, and analytically.

 Know how to take the derivative of a function and how to use the
derivative function to calculate the derivative at a point as well as the
equation of a tangent line at a point.

 Recognize where certain functions do not have tangent lines.

 Learn the various rules of differentiation such as the power rule, the
product rule, the quotient rule, and the chain rule.

 Calculate velocity, acceleration, and other rates of change.

 Find the derivatives of trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential


 Learn implicit differentiation and when it is used.

 Be able to take derivatives of inverse functions.

 Be able to relate the graphs of f(x), f’(x), and f’’(x).

Unit 4: Applications of Differentiation (3 weeks, 1 Tests)

Project: Maximization of an open box given a rectangular piece of cardboard

Activity: Related Rates Activity: The ruler sliding down the wall.

Students will learn:

 The Mean Value Theorem and its applications.

 Linear Approximations and Newton’s Method.

 How to take derivatives of indeterminate forms and how to use L’Hopital’s

 How to calculate minimum and maximum values algebraically.

 The difference between increasing and decreasing functions and how to

calculate intervals of increase and decrease.

 Concavity and the Second Derivative Test.

 Optimization (finding maximum/minimum volume, distance, cost, etc.)

 Related Rates

Unit 5: Integration and Antidifferentiation (4 weeks, 2 Tests)

Project: Using Lego blocks to approximate area under the curve- intro into
Riemann Sums

Students will learn:

 How to take an antiderivative of a function.

 Summation and Sigma Notation

 The calculation of the area under a curve by approximation methods:

Riemann Sums (left, right, and midpoint), Trapezoidal Method, and
Simpson’s Rule.

 Definite integrals, their properties, and their relationship to Riemann sums

 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

 Integration by substitution and integration by parts.

 Integration of trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions

 Integration of rational functions using partial fractions.

 Integration of improper integrals

Unit 6: Applications of Integration (4 weeks, 2 Tests)

Activity: Calculating the volume of a donut using solids of revolution

Project: Creating a volume given a known cross-sectional area.
Students will learn:

 How to calculate the area between curves.

 How to create three-dimensional figures using the slicing method, disk

method, washer method, and shell method and then compute their

 The calculation of cross sections.

 The computation of arc length and surface area.

 Applications of integration to Physics and Engineering (ex: particle motion,

total distance traveled)

Unit 7: Differential Equations and Mathematical Modeling (2 weeks, 1 Test)

Activity: Spread of a rumor (as found on AP central website)

Students will learn to:

 Recognize separable differential equations and find their general

solutions, and apply these to growth and decay problems

 Draw and read slope fields.

 Solve initial value problems

 Use Euler’s Method

Unit 8: Sequences and Infinite Series (5 weeks, 2 Tests)

Activity: Calculator exploration of series

Students will learn about:

 Sequences of real numbers: arithmetic, harmonic, alternating harmonic,

and geometric series

 Basic Series: geometric series, p-series, and telescoping series.

 Tests for convergence/divergence: integral, direct comparison, limit

comparison, alternating series, and ratio tests
 The Power Series: Taylor polynomials a and Taylor series

 Interval and radius of convergence

 Using Maclaurin series to form new series

 Differentiation and antidifferentiation of series

 Lagrange Error Bound

Unit 9: Parametric, Polar, and Vector Equations (3 weeks, 1 Test)

Activity: Calculator exploration of parametric and polar equations

Students will learn about:

 Parametric Equations and calculus: slope and rate of change

 Arc Length and Surface area in parametric equations

 Polar Equations and calculus: slope and rate of change, length, and area

 Vectors in the Plane: motion along a curve, position, velocity, acceleration,

distance traveled

Unit 10: Review for AP Exam (6 weeks)

 2 full-length practice AP exams taken from released questions

 Tutoring available after school hours for students preparing for the test