The Prince of Calculand

11/22/2005 10:17:00 pm

Ever since I started teaching AP Calculus I've used the Alvirne High School AP Calculus site (I wanted to include a link to the site but it seems to have gone offline -- a horrible shame and a loss to the entire AP Calculus community. Please let me know if you know what happened to this excellent site.) as a resource for AP level questions to help my students prepare and review for the exam.

For the last few years I've tried, with only lukewarm success, to get my students to do something similar. The process works like this:

We brainstorm as a class to come up with an idea for a mascot. Once that's decided, one student writes a brief story where our mascot gets into trouble. The only way out is to solve a calculus problem which the student must create and solve. Both the problem and solution are handed in for marks and graded using this rubric. A second copy of the problem and solution is given to the next student on the list who picks up the story where it left off and creates and solves a new problem.

The students are encouraged to be creative and introduce new characters as they wish. Also, one student draws a picture of the mascot who begins showing up on tests, quizzes and assignments. Last year's group named their mascot Captain Chris -- one of the students was named Chris. It was a Star Trek themed adventure where the names of the planets they visited were the course numbers of the various classes they were taking. They did some really great work, but getting it all online is a lot of work for me and it just never happened.

This year I got a better idea. Turn it over to the kids entirely. Let one of them make a blog and invite the rest of the class to join. They can create and upload any images they wish. We'll have a second blog for the solutions that you can only get to from the problems blog.

This year they decided to call their mascot The Prince of Calculand. -- One of the students is named Prince ;-) -- Prince drew a picture of him (coming to the blog soon). He has a double bladed sword in the shape of an integral sign and a sigma drawn on his chest. The first student has unveiled her work today. Check out our digital story here; it's awesome!

You Might Also Like