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AP Calculus AB Course Overview

The course develops calculus in an intuitive, conceptual manner and prepares students for the AP calculus
exam. Laboratory experiments and hands-on activities are integrated throughout the curriculum as key concepts
for learning and conceptual understanding. Students are expected to work collaboratively in study teams;
explain; justify and present ideas; and demonstrate persistence when asked to develop difficult concepts for

This calculus course will incorporate technology on a daily basis as a tool for learning. All chapters have labs
and other major investigations which will rely on students proficiency with the graphing calculator. The
course has three major activities during which the students use a CBL or CBR to collect data and analyze rates
of change. Key problems also rely on the regression feature of the calculator. Since the AP exam requires
students to be proficient in using a graphing calculator, this course assumes that students have access to one in
class and at home.

Our school uses the College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) textbook series from 6th grade through AP
calculus. This textbook series emphasizes the connection between graphical, numerical, analytical, and verbal
representations of the math they are studying.

Chapters 1-2: Introduction - 6 weeks

Pre-Calculus topics: Functions, holes and asymptotes, limits, continuity, velocity, using rectangles to
approximate the area under a curve.

Chapters 3-8: Core Calculus AB - 20 weeks

Calculus topics: derivatives, integrals, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, differential equations,
optimization and other applications.

Review: 4 weeks


Written explanations and justifications are an integral part of the CPM curriculum. Our AP-Calculus
students will have four years of experience with written responses and will be expected to continue to
develop and refine this essential skill. All problems listed in the writing section (by chapter) require
students to write answers in complete sentences.

Students create and keep toolkits to summarize, in their own words, key concepts, definitions, and formulas.
These toolkits are primarily comprised of the Math Notes Box sections in each chapter. Bold numbers are
the page numbers that contain a Math Note Box.

Problems that are underlined are investigations. Investigations are often open-ended and students are
encouraged to experiment and explore. Goals of the investigation are clearly stated before students begin.
Teachers are responsible for observing, listening and questioning. If key ideas are missing, the teacher is
responsible for pointing students in the right direction. Students then continue the investigation after the
discussion. This is a time consuming process, but students will remember the results if they go through the
investigation. After the investigation is complete, students report their findings in a presentation that
requires both written and verbal communication. Students are required to submit an investigative report that
includes both analysis and written explanations and justifications for the work submitted.

All other problems listed in the writing section (by chapter) require students to explain, justify, describe, and
Teaching Strategies
Team work
Individual work
Chapter closure activities and quizzes to verify understanding

TI-83 and TI-84 Graphing calculators - daily
Internet activities to show solids and animate concepts
Geometers Sketchpad

Student Evaluation
Summative (Individual Test): 45%
Formative (Learning Targets/Bench Mark/Standards Quiz): 35%
Team Assessments: 10%
Final Exam: 10%

Teacher Resources
Textbook: Dietiker, Sallee, Kysh, Hoey. College Preparatory Mathematics Calculus. Second Edition,
Sacramento, CA: CPM Educational Program, 2003, 2010.

Other Resources
David Lederman. Multiple-choice & Free Response Questions in Preparation for the AP Calculus(AB)
Examination. Eighth edition. New York. D & S Marketing Systems, Inc. Copyright 2003.

Web site:

o Special Focus Materials
o Curriculum Modules
o Differential Equations
o Related Rates
o History of Calculus

Previously released College Board Exams for AP Calculus.

After the AP Exam

Study of some BC topics, including Newtons Method for Approximating Roots, lHopitals Rule,
Improper Integrals, Integration by Parts.
Student projects using calculus topics studied in the course.
Review for the course final exam.
Course Planner

Chapter Topics Timeline

3 weeks, 1 day
Chapter 1 Review Topics from previous courses such as piecewise functions,
A Beginning compositions, inverses, even & odd functions, domain & range,
Look at Calculus horizontal and vertical asymptotes.
Develop the concepts of slope and slope functions
Study how particular functions change by examining finite
Examine both the velocity and distance graph of an object in
motion to find average velocity and acceleration.

Technology Used: CBL with motion detector.

Slope Walk. This experiment will challenge students to recreate a given
distance/time graph on a graphing calculator by walking toward and away
from the motion detector. Students will experience the relationship of their
speed to the slope of the graph. Students will then translate the slope of the
function into slope statements and extend the idea to each of the parent
graphs. The Slope Walk will also be used to help students discover
relationships between position, velocity, and acceleration.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
7, 10, 20, 24, 25, 37, 55, 70, 72, 84, 95, 101, 105, 119, 131, 132,
184, 195, 197
Investigation Problem #s:
92, 96, 97, 98, 99, 110, 111, 112,
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
5, 9, 10, 15, 18, 22, 27, 31, 42, 52, 63

2 weeks, 2 days
Chapter 2 Approximate the area under the curve using Riemann sums and
Rates, Sums, summation notation.
Limits, and Predict function behavior with limits.
Continuity Use limits to define continuity and see how continuity provides
the basis for the Intermediate Value Theorem
Develop a method to approximate the velocity of an object at an
Discuss the local linearity of well-behaved functions
Analyze proofs of limits of sin(h)/h and (1-cos(h))/h as h goes to

Technology Used: Students will use the sum(seq(Y1, x, a, b, 1) to estimate

area under a curve with a TI-84 graphing calculator after first computing
the results by hand. The calculator will not only confirm their results but
offer an expedited method of finding the area so that the result can be
applied to the rest of the problem.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
7, 8, 20, 21, 36, 37, 38, 81, 105, 107, 125, 128, 138, 143
Investigation Problem #s:
102,103, 112, 113, 132, 135
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
75, 76, 82, 87, 94, 96, 110, 111
Chapter Topics Timeline
Chapter 3 3 weeks
Slope and Curve Find slope functions for most Parent Graphs both graphically and
Analysis analytically.
Derive and use the formal definition of a derivative as the limit of
the slope of a secant line.
Find derivatives of sine, cosine, and formalize the Power Rule.
Discover what 1st and 2nd indicate about a functions shape,
including where it is increasing, decreasing and its concavity.
Sketch f(x) and f(x) from f(x).
Connect derivatives and second derivatives with velocity and
Investigate and categorize functions that are not differentiable

Technology Used: Students will use NDeriv or dy/dx functions on their

graphing calculators to find the slope of the tangent line. They will use this
calculation to help find the equation of a tangent line and confirm their
results by graphing the tangent line and original function on the calculator.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
7, 8, 20, 21, 36, 37, 38, 81, 105, 107, 125, 128, 138, 143
Investigation Problem #s:
7, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 70, 96, 99, 111, 112, 144, 145
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
124, 126, 131, 148, 155, 161, 163, 164,

3 weeks
Chapter 4 The Set up and evaluate an integral to find the exact area under a curve
Fundamental Crete area functions to find the area under a curve between a fixed
Theorem of number and a variable endpoint.
Calculus Investigate the properties of definite integrals.
Discover the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus and use it to
evaluate a definite integral.
Calculate the area of a region between curves

Technology Used: Students will use their graphing calculators to evaluate

integrals graphically. That way they will connect the shaded area under
the curve with the numeric value.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
21, 43, 46, 57, 58, 61, 79, 91, 93, 98, 99, 100, 123, 124, 135, 150,
Investigation Problem #s:
1, 40, 41, 4265, 66, 67, 95, 96, 97, 106, 107, 116
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
177, 190, 196, 223
Chapter Topics Timeline
2 weeks, 4 days
Chapter 5 Devise functions to model quantities such as velocity,
Optimization and acceleration, volume, profit, cost, time, and area.
Derivative Tools Distinguish between maximum and minimum values using the
first and second derivatives.
Clarify and categorize the different types of extreme values of a
Develop more derivative techniques: Product Rule, Quotient Rule,
and Chain Rule.
Find the Derivative of sec(x), csc(x), tan(x), and cot(x).

Technology Used: Students will make predictions about the derivatives of

given functions, then use their graphing calculators to test their conjectures
by drawing the derivative and comparing it to their guess. They can graph
their conjecture using a thin line and then graph the slope function for the
original using a thicker line. If the thicker line graphs over the thin line,
they can assume they have a match. Students can graph the original
function in Y1, then use nDerive(Y1, X, x-value) to graph the derivative of
Y1 in Y2. They can put their answers to the problems in Y3 to see that it
matches the actual derivative.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
7, 10, 20, 30, 32, 39, 54, 57, 70, 95, 98, 107, 117, 131, 159
Investigation Problem #s:
1, 2, 12, 13, 48, 59, 60, 78, 110, 111, 128, 129
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
237, 240, 247, 251, 257

2 weeks, 4 days
Chapter 6 Revisit exponential functions and study their derivatives.
More Derivative Explore the mathematical concept e, which arises naturally in
Rules many contexts.
Use implicit differentiation as a tool to differentiate relations that
are not solved explicitly for y.
Find the derivatives of all parent graphs and their inverses.
Develop a process to find the mean value of a function, as well as
an average rate of change for a function.
Evaluate improper integrals.

Technology Used: Students use the graphing calculator to generate slopes

of tangents at convenient points, and then use a table to find a rule for the
slope function.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
11, 25, 26, 29, 34, 35, 39, 54, 61, 72, 74, 75, 77, 87, 91, 143, 163,
Investigation Problem #s:
79, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
286, 291, 297, 321, 322, 327, 330
Chapter Topics Timeline
3 weeks
Chapter 7 Describe the relationship between rates of change for different
Related Rates scenarios.
and Integration Solve for a rate of change given another related rate of change.
Tools Learn the u-substitution method of integration, which will enable
you to easily integrate a wider variety of functions.
Learn how to use integration to solve special equations involving
derivatives, called differential equations.
Graph differential equations and their solutions using slope fields
and Eulers Method.
Integrate using integration by parts and partial fraction integration.

Technology Used: CBL with temperature probe.

Students collect temperature data in the Soda Lab to study and quantify
how the rates are changing. Students will then use the data collected to
write a differential equation.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
9, 18, 24, 25, 52, 55, 77, 101, 111, 121, 122, 125, 126, 132, 134,
186, 188, 199, 207, 208
Investigation Problem #s:
1, 4, 5, 25, 47, 48, 117, 118, 119, 142, 153, 155
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
346, 355, 364, 376

Slice a solid of revolution to find its volume. 2 weeks 3 days

Chapter 8 Use cylindrical shells to find volumes.
Volume Slice solids using cross-sections to find volumes.
Determine the length of an arc.

Technology Used: Students will find volumes of solids by hand then

confirm results by using the integral function on their graphing calculators.

Explain, Justify, Describe, and Summarize Problem #s:
41, 52, 59, 62, 68, 79, 88, 100, 109, 140, 143, 144
Investigation Problem #s:
1, 2, 3, 65, 98, 108
Toolkit Entries Page #s:
407, 415, 439

4 weeks
Review AP Calculus AB topics will be completed by the end of March.
Students will then practice taking free response and multiple
choice tests by completing and correcting released exams. Review
topics will include:
Related rates
Slope fields
Exponential growth
Differential equations
Solids of revolution
We will also take time to discuss complete answers, justification, and
rounding to three decimal places.