AP Calculus AB/BC


AP Calculus BC Course Syllabus

Chris Thiel, OFMCap, MDiv, MS
cthiel@sfhs.net - (818) 790-0325 x1211
Assignments: hw.mathorama.com
Website: www.mathorama.com
google classroom: Block A: 5bxwjc
google classroom: Block B: 7qb4uy
google classroom: Block F: ik72myb
AP Classroom Block A : section code 6XRDNG
AP Classroom Block B : section code AEEAEX
AP Classroom Block F : section code Z4M73E
Khan Academy: TBA
textbook: Calculus of a Single Variable 11e (c)2018 by Ron Larson, and Bruce Edwards
(those thinking of taking BC next year may wish to get the 15 chapter version called simply Calculus 11e by the same authors)
Many fields depend on calculus to test their theories and designs. Mathematics can model observations to discover relationships and test solutions, yet mathematics itself depends upon logic and reason to justify its claims. We will use graphing, analytic, and numerical methods to discover and understand mathematical postulates and theorems. We then can use these theorems to justifying our conclusions whether it be for mathematical rigor, or for scientific, engineering, financial, or some other application.

You will learn how defend your conclusions with a mathematical argument based upon satisfying the conditions necessary to us a theorem, not just using a theorem.

The more you can explain, the more you will retain! Help each other as you work through homework and classwork by asking for and offering explanations why a method or conclusion might be correct. I will be available before school in Room 104 7:30-8:00 most every day, (and also by appointment after school), if you need extra help.
Text: Calculus of a Single Variable (11th edition) by Ron Larson, and Bruce Edwards. (If you are not a Senior, you may wish to consider the 15 chapter version called Calculus )

Calculator: TI83Plus or TI84 family (Plus, Silver Ed, CE, etc) only. NO TI-Inspire, TI86's or TI89's. Sharing Calculators are not permitted during the AP Exam, nor in classroom assessments.


Scores are weighted according to their category:
Classroom Work 5% Based upon class participation which includes bringing materials to class (calculator, book, etc), completion of worksheets, taking notes, and other classroom activities. You must bring a textbook, iPad, calculator, paper and pencil to each class.
Homework 5% Grading is based upon doing assignments on time according to the description above.
Homework Quizzes 10% A Homework Question or two from homework assignments.
Quizzes 15% Questions based on combining ideas from the current and previos chapters, usually done on days without a test.
Tests 45% Hour long tests that integrate chapter topics into your problem solving skills.
Qtr Exams 20% 90 minutes, comprehensive, usually with a section using the calculator, and another section that prohibits the use of a calculator.

Each assessment category is "weighted" (rather than using raw points). This means that to dramatically improve an overall grade, a student must dramatically improve the average grade in one or more of these categories.

It reminds me of how the Presidential election works, using the electoral college instead of popular vote. If all the candidate's supporters are in the same state, it isn't as effective as having supporters in different states, since to with the election, you have to win over a lot of big states. Similarly, it would be best for a student to do well in as many categories as possible, especially the categories that are worth more.

The gradebook automatically does the following calculation:

.05*(average classroom work) + .05*(avg homework) + .10*(avg hw quiz) + .15*(avg quiz) + .45*(average test) + .20*(avg exam) = overall percentage
Category Average Weight Points
Classroom × (0.05) =
Homework × (0.05) =
HW Quizzes × (0.10) =
Quizzes × (0.15) =
Tests × (0.45) =
Qtr Exams × (0.20) =

The gradebook then converts this percentage into letter grades strictly as follows:

90% to 100%
A to A-
80% to 89.99%
B+ to B-
70% to 79.99%
C+ to C-
60% to 69.99%
D+ to D-
0% to 59.99%

(While plusses and minuses are indicated on the grade report, they are ignored and not used in computing the student's grade point average (GPA). Students are expected to bring a graphing calculator to the exam, and to be familiar with its use. Graphing calculators may be used for both sections of the exam. Here is a link to the current list of AP-approved graphing calculators on collegeboard.com. Permitted calculators are the same as for the AP Calculus Exam.

Some activities are designed for developing concepts and understanding, while others focus on improving the way in which you communicate your mathematical knowledge.

To help motivate you to prepare for class, practically every class will have a quiz, a homework quiz, or a test. You are expected to prepare for these examinations by making sure you understand the assigned exercises. Test dates are found on the homework assignment sheet, as well in the PortalsPlus calendar. The TI-84, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition are ideal for use on the AP Exam Exam (and is the reason that one of them is required for the course). Calculators with a "CAS" feature are not permitted on quizzes and tests.

Take advantage of the class work sessions. The iPad will be used in the classroom and students are expected to arrive at each class with the device sufficiently charged. There are only a limited number of loaner iPads available in the IT room in the 100 building, so it is best to make sure your iPad is ready to be used. External battery packs are an affordable way to make sure you never without a charged iPad.

The pace and rigor of the class is such that any time distracted by the iPad will significantly impact a students' progress in a negative way. To help focus your attention, please double-click the home button and quit all communication and entertainment apps before class begins. Students will be expected to monitor their behavior with the iPads with little direction from the instructor. Any time or attention diverted by technology will result in a decreasing chance of a successful performance in this class, and will lower your classroom assessment.

As per the student handbook, students are responsible for work missed due to absence the day they return. Make-up tests usually have more (or more difficult) questions. If you are present and a quiz or test is scheduled, you must take it. It is a good idea to have the contact information of several classmates to see what material and assignments were covered during your absence. If you miss a quiz you cannot gain any points for it. If you know you will be absent for a test, you may schedule to take it before the actual test date if prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. In the case of an extended illness special arrangements should be made with the Academic Vice Principal, Mr. Trujillo.

All must take the AP examination on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 8 AM .

Extra Credit

The grade for this AP course is based upon mastery of the curriculum, so there are no extra credit assignments.


If you are absent, you should contact me. You need to make up tests and homework, but not quizzes. If you are absent on the day of a test, you need to make arrangements for taking the make up test. You need to take a make-up test the very next day (even or odd) you are back in school. No make-up exams will be taken during class time. Failure to be responsible will definitely hurt your grade.

You are also responsible for any material due the days you missed on the day you return. The exception is if you have contacted me and we make a special arrangement (usually due to being absent for an long time). As per the handbook, assignments due on days you have an unexcused absence must be scored zero.

If you are absent for any quizzes, there are no make-ups, but you will not be penalized. You should ask me for a copy of any missed quizzes and solve the problems on your own to make sure you understand the material being asked.


You have written homework every day. Homework assignments must be kept in any notebook of your choice and you will not receive credit for them if they are not. Homework assignments are not accepted late, but should be completed as soon as possible so that you do not fall behind. Complete the work you are assigned on time, and you will receive the best grade you are capable of with the least amount of effort.

I am looking for effort on the homework. It is acceptable to have trouble solving problems, but some effort must be made. You will be penalized for incomplete assignments and only receive partial credit. The solutions to the odd homework problems are at CalcChat.com and nearly every problem at Slader.com . I will happy to post in Google Classroom any solution to an even problem that is not already on Slader. Used properly, this will help you understand how to solve problems at home. To get the best understanding of the material with the least amount of effort, you should do some homework every day (45-60 min a day, for 5 days as apposed to a block of 2 or 4 hours once in a while). You should attempt questions from every category on the homework the night it is assigned (while it is fresh) and complete the assignment by the day it is due. It is very important to understand the concepts, not memorize procedures.

If you don't understand certain questions in the homework, try watching the videos at CalcView which explain how to do the questions with an asterix (*). You can also come to room 104 before school for help (7:30 -8:00). There may be time to put some problems on the board at the beginning of class, but we can't spend too much time on that because of the new material we need to cover. I will try to check homework daily, but it will be checked randomly and students are expected to have all assignments with them daily so that any assignment can be checked. Your notebooks could also be checked randomly for completeness and organization.


Tests cover all the material in the homework and classwork assignments.

AP Exam questions are designed to test your understanding of calculus, so a "bald answer" by itself is worth very little ( if anything ). To prepare for the exam, I too will be scoring in the same spirit so that you may achieve the best possible score on the AP Exam.

Partial credit is always given if correct concepts and steps in the solution are shown even if the answer is incorrect. Tests are difficult to make up because you will need to find a 90 minute period of time in your schedule; so don’t be absent unless absolutely necessary. Tests are meant to challenge students and there are times when I will curve the scores for students who are current with their homework, but if a student is not making an effort on his homework, that student's score will not earn the curve.

Practice AP Exam April 25, 2020

Continuing the helpful tradition of Mr. O'Connor, we will have a full practice exam at 9:00 to 12:30 the Saturday Morning of Prom (April 25, 2020). Students historically gain a lot in insight and confidence by doing this, and counts as two 90-minute tests. If you are not able to take it at this time, you must contact me at least a month ahead of time to arrange with me a time to take it before this date (so we can go over it together at the same time before May 5, 2020).

Other Policies

I expect student to bring their materials including an iPad and Calculator to fully participate. Be prepared to learn: if you did not complete the homework, you may not be able to understand the next lesson; if you did not get enough sleep, you may have to spend more time later to master a skill or gain an insight. All school rules will be enforced, especially the academic integrity and honor code. You don't have to be perfect, but you are expected to be faithful to the truth, and humble about your limitations. I promise to do the same. Together I hope we will be diligent in our efforts that you may eventually delight in the marvel that is Calculus!