Accelerating in AP Calculus

For my first time as a credentialed teacher, my AP Calculus AB students learned content rapidly enough for us to move on significantly faster than originally planned.  As shown below, the plan for the first week back from Christmas break included a full week for the definite integral as well as a separate, full week for integration rules and the mean value theorem (for integrals); students last year struggled mightily with integration, as they did with differentiation, so I planned to go more slowly this year.


2013-2014 Cohort Spring Semester Plan Excerpt (Original)

Much to my surprise, students devoured the definite integral content in one block period voting to pull forward the next section on integration rules and the mean value theorem (for integrals).  Furthermore, they only required one block period for that content, voting once again to accelerate their learning by moving the fundamental theorem of calculus up a full week, as shown in the modified plan below.


2013-2014 Cohort Spring Semester Plan Excerpt (Accelerated)

Making this even more pleasing, this year’s plan already lead last year’s plan by nearly a full week, as shown below.  Hence, this year’s cohort now has a two-week time advantage in comparison to last year’s cohort.


2012-2013 Cohort Spring Semester Plan (MLK Holiday +2 weeks)

This two-week lead is important as u-substitution challenges many students.  If we do not need extra time for u-substitution, we can bank the week for possible use in other topics this semester, or possibly use it for more AP Exam prep.  Either way, students this year are likely to be more ready for the AP Exam, which is great news.

Looking back to my first year’s plan (2011-2012 cohort) for a similar two-week stretch shows that we are now one week ahead of what I planned then, which was for a smaller, select cohort, as my first year teaching AP Calculus was quite tumultuous for all involved.

Sem2Plan4b 2011-2012 Plan

2011-2012 Cohort Spring Semester Plan

All in all, I am proud of where we are now.  I hope our momentum remains the same or increases as we move forward.

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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