• AP Calculus BC


    Mr. Zendt - Lab Room C133
    Email: jzendt@alvinisd.net
    Tutoring: Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:00 & Thursday 3:00pm – 4:00 or by appointment.


    To be successful in my (and any) class, students must be able to:
    • Complete all work (even if not collected for a grade).
    • Study outside of class.
    • Ask for help when stuck.
    • Bring an open mind and try new things. 


    Course Description: Designed for college bound juniors and seniors; this course introduces students to the major themes of calculus.  This course is equivalent to a first and second semester of college calculus.  This course does NOT require the completion of Calculus AB beforehand, as it will cover all of the Calculus AB topics in addition to the Calculus BC topics.  The AB Topics will be tested at a higher level, since this course might be the second time students have seen those types of questions.  Additionally, as more content is covered than in Calculus AB, there will be less total time for review, so students will be expected to frequently study outside of class.


    The course will start in the middle of basic Derivatives, specifically starting at the Chain Rule for Derivatives. Students are expected to enter Calculus BC with a mastery of all Parent Functions, Limits, and Simple Derivatives (Power, Product, Quotient Rules).


    Students are exposed to seven broad conceptual themes:

    1. Working with functions represented graphically, numerically, analytically, or verbally. Students should understand the connections among these representations.
    2. The meaning of the derivative in terms of rate and local linear approximation.
    3. The meaning of the definite integral both as a limit of the Riemann sums and as the net accumulation of change.
    4. The relationship between the derivative and the definite integral as expressed in both parts of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
    5. Modeling of problem situations with functions, differential equations, or integrals.
    6. Represent differential equations with slope fields, solve separable differential equations analytically, and solve differential equations using numerical techniques such as Euler’s method.
    7. The meaning of polynomial approximation and series. Interpret convergence and divergence using technology.


    Course Materials
    Each student is required to bring:
    Pencils or Mechanical Pencils for Notes and Written Assignments.
    Quad Ruled Notebook: Used for notes and homework. I highly recommend TWO Notebooks: one for notes, one for homework.
    3 Different Color Writing Utensils: pens, markers, highlighters, or pencils, etc.
    Graphing Calculator: We have a class set of TI Nspire CX, but you cannot take them home for homework.  You might already have a TI-84 or TI-Nspire, which is perfect for this class (I teach on the TI-Nspire).  You cannot use emulators such as WabbitEmu/AndieGraph on a test.  [The district is looking into the possibility of AP students being able to check out a calculator during the Virtual Learning time, but there is no decision yet.]


    If you don't own a calculator and plan to pursue a STEM field in college, I would recommend purchasing the TI Nspire CAS CX II.  Most engineering programs at college only let you use a 4 function scientific calculator for exams, so it would be for your homework in college.


    A quick note about CAS (Computer Algebra System) Calculators:
    CAS Calculators, such as the TI-Nspire CX CAS or the TI-89 are capible of doing "symbolic manipulation " (working in abstract variable-only terms).  They are allowed on the calculator portion of the AP Calculus BC test and on SAT. Thusly I allow the use of them, but warn that they might make you lazy and don't do anything that Wolfram Alpha couldn't.


    However, the AP tests and my tests will be designed so that the use of a CAS calculator instead of a non-CAS will not give an unfair advantage on the calculator portion, so don't feel that you must buy one if you already have a good ol' TI-84/Regular Nspire.  That said, if you are a calculator nerd, the TI-Nspire CX CAS is REALLY cool, powerful, and has a more expanded programming support.


    The Notebook
    I recommend using two notebooks for this class, as students usually can't fit the notes and homework into a single notebook.  You can use a spiral notebook or a 3 Ring Binder, pick whatever you are most comfortable using.  Using two notebooks: one for homework and one for notes is an excellent idea and helps keep you organized.


    I plan to use a digital homework system, so the homework notebook is so you can write down the problem and work it out (trust me, you will want to write out the questions to get them correct and to study later).  Sometimes I also use handouts and they could be taped or stapled into that notebook as well.


    I recommend a Quad Ruled Notebook instead of regular lines.  We make a lot of graphs that trying to sketch a graph is painful on regular lined paper.  But if trying to do regular math problems on "tiny square graph paper" doesn't sound appealing to you, then stick with what you're comfortable working in (we can always cut & glue too).


    • Google Classroom will always have notes and explainations posted daily.


    Book Used in Class:
    • Larson, Hostetler, Edwards (2006). Calculus with Analytic Geometry (8th Ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.


    AP Calculus BC is a college level course and, as such, will have homework. I understand that many students have a full load of other high-level courses and I will do my best to keep the homework assignments to a reasonable length. It's better to do 5 really good problems than 20 easy problems.

    I expect my students to check their homework with the back of the book or online with Wolfram Alpha before class.  I will review homework questions before class each day, but will not have time to go over EVERY problem.


    It will be very difficult to get an A in this class without being able to pass (get a 3) the AP exam.  Grading is based on the District AP Level 70% Major / 30% Daily grading weights.  Late work can be turned in for a maximum of an 80, and will be accepted until one week before the end of the nine weeks.  Quizzes and tests can be retested for up to a maximum of 80, which also must be completed one week before the end of the nine weeks.  Retests are often more challenging than the original test and can be entirely FRQ-based.

    Homework/Classwork (Minor): This is graded based on both completion and accuracy (more weight for completion though).  Late homework has a max score of 80.  Homework will be graded on a weekly basis, the entire week will be checked on the following Monday.

    Quizzes (Minor, 2x Weight): We will have quizzes nearly every week.  Most will be announced in advance, but we might have one or two surprise quizzes to keep you on your toes.

    Tests (Major): This category includes major tests structured like AP exams, and may contain multiple choice questions and free response questions. All tests will include calculator and non-calculator portions.

    A note about assistance from peers and the web: you may ask others for help on an assignment, but copying of another student's work (or from the internet) is NOT allowed and will be considered cheating/plagiarism. Ask HOW they solved the problem, not WHAT is the solution.

    Use resources like the back of the book, Slater, and Wolfram Alpha to CHECK YOUR OWN HOMEWORK and to help when you are stuck.  There is no greater feeling that doing a difficult problem, not sure if you got it right and then checking online and seeing you nailed it.


    AP Exam
    The Exam will be given on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 8:00 am. (First week of AP Testing)
    You must arrive 30+ minutes early, 7:20, like a normal school day. The exam lasts 3 hours 15 minutes. It consists of two parts: 1 hr. 45 min. for 45 multiple choice questions, 28 of them without calculators (55 minutes) and 17 calculator questions (50 minutes).  The second part is Free Response lasting 1 hr. 30 min. for six questions: 2 problems with a calculator (30 minutes), 4 without a calculator (60 minutes).


     AP tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5 with 3 considered passing. The AP Calculus BC test is unique in that you can also receive a Calculus AB "subscore", meaning you could still get a 5 for Calculus AB, but a 1 for Calculus BC (let's hope not!).


    Studying for the AP Exam
    Although we will prepare in class, I have found that students who studied outside of class have significantly out-preformed those who did not. There so much content in AP Calculus that it is difficult to practice "enough" only during class. That means I highly recommend that students who want to get a 4 or 5 to purchase a study guide and practice outside of class. Students will learn everything they need in class, but there is so much content you need to review it outside of class to make it stick.


    There are a variety of AP Review books available.  I recommend picking one from your favorite publisher and looking into a getting a set of flash cards. I will host after school and Saturday AP cram sessions in April to help us get ready!  And there will be free pizza.


    Google Classroom
    I will use Google Classroom as the primary means of providing access to old notes and other resources. I currently do not plan to use it to collect assignments from AP Calculus over Google Classroom.  I post notes and homeword PDFs daily, so this is a great resource to stay organzied.


    Please create an account (if you haven't already) and join my class. I will check Google Classroom during most evenings, so if you ever have any trouble with an assignment, post a question and myself or another student will try to answer. I will stop checking around 8pm-9pm, so don't post at midnight expecting an answer!