Beyond Geometry (Help me please!)

A literary-minded student's contribution to my classroom decor

A literary-minded student’s contribution to my classroom decor

In my fifth year teaching high school geometry, an opportunity has come to me that seems interesting, challenging, and worthwhile. So, in addition to integrating the Common Core’s version of high school geometry into our school’s math program, the lot has fallen upon me to do the necessary research for (what could become) our school’s new AP Calculus class. Well, actually, I kind of requested the job because I need the hours for my masters program and I would be interested in teaching the class once it is planned.

Okay, so confession: I don’t have any idea what I’m looking at or looking for. I took calculus as a high school senior several (or more) years ago. I took Calc 1 at Lansing Community College and Calc 2 at Western Michigan University. I’d like to think that I could give the students a better experience than I had. In that mindset, I’ve spent the last two hours or so looking at different unit plans, textbooks, labs, and syllabi. I even put “the best calculus textbook in the English-speaking world” into a Bing search bar to see what came up. (Nothing useful, by the way.)

So, here’s where you can help.

I need advice. What are the best textbooks? What should I look for? What are my red flags?

I’m very inclined to project-based, or at least student-centered curricula. What resources are you familiar with that will support the students in an exploration of calculus instead of a year-long teacher presentation?

Can you provide links to awesome problems or labs?

All suggestions and recommendations is welcome. Even a word or two of advice would be welcome. Load up the comments. If it’s longer, andrew.shauver@gmail.com is the way to get ahold of me.

Thanks for everything!

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8 thoughts on “Beyond Geometry (Help me please!)

  1. Howdy! I sent you some resources via email. However, in terms of textbooks, I’ve done my research on a bunch of them a few years ago, and I strongly felt that the Rogawski text [http://www.whfreeman.com/catalog/static/whf/rogawski2epreview/] was far superior than the alternatives. Clear examples, not trying to intimidate students, good problems.

    I don’t really use a textbook in my non-AP calculus class (though I used to use Rogawski), but both the AB and BC calculus teachers have adopted Rogawski and have been pleased with it.

    • I very much appreciate it. I have received word that there is no money available for a textbook so I will be looking forward to gathering resources. It is encouraging to know that you don’t use a text, so I know it can be done and done well.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I assure you, I won’t delete anything. It is possible you will be hearing from me as I explore with questions. Thanks again. This is why I love the blogging community.

  2. You might be interested in taking a look at my calculus course at mooculus.osu.edu

    The resources (textbook, online homework system, lecture videos) are all freely available.

    • I appreciate your willingness to share. I will be looking forward to gathering resources, especially since I just found out that there is no money for a text. So, thank you very much. It is very possible that you will be hearing from me with questions as I explore your offering. This is why I love the blogging community.

  3. I almost finished with my first year teaching AP Calculus. I would strongly advise you attend AP training. I used the website http://www.chaoticgolf.com The website is based on a textbook and I used the same book, but it is not necessary. There are videos for every lesson, guided notes, and practice pages. My students would watch the videos for extra help or if they were absent. I used his guided notes to teach. It was very helpful for my first year. I high recommend the site. I also used the master math mentor website. I used his activities called Step By Steps. It really helped to prepare my students for the AP Free Response sections. Good luck!

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