Calculus I With Group Work, Fall 2008

What This Is

I have gotten a number of request for these materials, so I am posting them here. In Fall 2008, as part of the Transforming Calculus Project, I taught two experimental sections of calculus. In brief, the fourth meeting hour was to be used to watch a streaming lecture series, the three usual class meeting hours were spent mainly on problem solving individually and in teams. Mechanical homeworks were graded by computer and a weekly written assignment was hand-graded. Since Fall 2008, these materials have been improved by three instructors (Addie Evans, Kristen Freeman, Eric Miranda). Their versions will eventually be made available.

How You May Use This

I created almost all of these materials, though I stole a good idea or two from others and a diagram or two from the Haas calculus text. I reserve all rights. However, it would make me happy if you use these materials for the forces of good. I give you permission to use these materials in educational settings, with the requirement that

What Should Be Improved

I would like to put more emphasis early on upon understanding what a function is and how to compose one with another. Not understanding that was a big obstacle for students last year, as it makes understanding or even using the chain rule impossible. We also need to align the worksheets better at the start with the homework. There was also a wonderful (to me) and impossible (to them) worksheet proving the sine and cosine derivative rules. Maybe that can become extra credit. I also wrote a number of worksheets that never ended up being used, and I’ll unearth those. The most pressing thing I would do differently is give a pretest with precalc stuff (as in HW 0) so people with weak function composition skills get on that right away. Second, I started the course assuming people could try the more mechanical things from the homework and lectures. >50% blew off the lectures. You have to either decide you will enforce the lectures (my suggestion: weekly brief lecture check where you tell them you will ask them something superficial from a timestamp in the lecture stream like what equation is on the board. This will be a 30 second weekly quiz.), or let it go. There was a lot of griping early in my class because I didn’t cover the limit computation stuff in group work. I could stand up strong and tell them it was in the lecture. But they didn’t like it. If you do the same, you will have to stand up strong and calm. In the end, by the way, people did just fine on the limit computations on the final exam.

The Files

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