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AP Calculus

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION! -- Gene Kranz, Mission Director Apollo 13

AP Calculus AB is designed to be taught over a full high school academic year. It is possible to spend some time on elementary functions and still cover the Calculus AB curriculum within a year. However, if students are to be adequately prepared for the Calculus AB examination, most of the year must be devoted to topics in differential and integral calculus. These topics are the focus of the AP Exam.

Prerequisites

Before studying calculus, all students should complete four years of secondary mathematics designed for college-bound students: courses in which they study algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, and elementary functions. These functions include those that are linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, and piecewise defined. In particular, before studying calculus, students must be familiar with the properties of functions, the algebra of functions, and the graphs of functions. Students must also understand the language of functions (domain and range, odd and even, periodic, symmetry, zeros, intercepts, and so on) and know the values of the trigonometric functions of the numbers 0, pi/6, pi/4, pi/3, pi/2, and their multiples.

Course Goals

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.
  • understand the meaning of the derivative in terms of a rate of change and local linear approximation and they should be able to use derivatives to solve a variety of problems.
  • 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.
  • understand the relationship between the derivative and the definite integral as expressed in both parts of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
  • communicate mathematics both orally and in well-written sentences and should be able to explain solutions to problems.
  • model a written description of a physical situation with a function, a differential equation, or an integral.
  • use technology to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and verify conclusions.
  • determine the reasonableness of solutions, including sign, size, relative accuracy, and units of measurement.
  • develop an appreciation of calculus as a coherent body of knowledge and as a human accomplishment.
Subpages (1): Notes
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Jerry Comparativo,
Aug 28, 2011, 8:38 PM
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Jerry Comparativo,
Aug 28, 2011, 8:41 PM
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