Wilton High School changes calculus sequence
The math department at Wilton High School will add two calculus courses to its list of class offerings in the upcoming years — AP Calculus BC and Multivariable Calculus, following the Board of Education’s approval of the courses during its June 11 meeting.
Math teacher Peggy Meurer-Tanzman put together proposals for both courses, which math teacher Suzanne Marsan and Principal Robert O’Donnell presented to the board during its May 28 meeting.
“We’re trying to align our two calculus courses to what the College Board suggests we should be teaching,” Marsan told the board.
“The A topics that the College Board suggests are graphs, functions and limits. The B topics include topics around derivatives, and the C topics involve concepts with integration.”
Right now, the high school offers a Calculus AB course, where A and B topics are taught; and a BC course, where C topics are taught. Marsan said these two courses are currently “followed by an introduction to multivariable.”
The honors level, full-year AP Calculus BC course will coincide with the high school’s Calculus AB class and replace the current two-year sequence of Calculus AB for one year and Calculus BC for approximately one to two quarters. The math department plans to start offering the course next school year.
Multivariable Calculus will be an honors level, full-year course that follows AP Calculus BC and the math department plans to implement the course in the 2016-17 school year. It will cover vectors and geometry of space, vector valued functions, functions of several variables, multiple integration and vector analysis.
The high school currently has three AB classes and one BC, said O’Donnell.
“Next year, we will have two AB courses and one BC and ultimately, one multivariable the following year — essentially, the same amount of courses,” he said.
According to the proposals, the two courses share the same objective — to “provide advanced level students with a challenging sequence that will enable them to reach their maximum potential, compete with other DRG-A students and prepare them for the mathematics they will need for their majors in college.”
Resources and cost
Thirty copies of the Calculus of A Single Variable 10th Edition textbook will be needed for the course. At $135 per book, plus shipping and handling, the district will spend approximately $4,450 on the AP Calculus BC instructional materials. According to the proposal, teacher supplemental materials will cost the district and estimated $385.
Funds will be needed to develop and write the Multivariable Calculus curriculum in the summer of 2016.
Thirty Multivariable Calculus 10th Edition textbooks — costing $184.75 a piece — will also be needed for the class. With shipping and handling, the textbooks will cost the district approximately $6,261.75, according to the proposal, which estimated a teacher supplemental materials cost of $385 for the course.
According to Meurer-Tanzman, buying 30 textbooks that include Calculus BC and Multivariable — costing $189.75 per book — would be “the most cost-effective.”