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*From*: Chris Clayton <misterc@uiuc.edu>*Date*: Tue, 06 Aug 1996 20:42:37 -0500

I've listened to the discussion on calculus teaching and I can't

help but throw in my tidbit as well...

I took freshman calculus with several talented students who had

taken AP calculus in high school. I had had only one semester of

pre-calculus, in which we learned what a derivative and an integral really

WERE. Entering college I could differentiate and integrate polynomials and

that is all. My AP counterparts could integrate and differentiate

polynomials, TRIG functions, exponentials, etc. I sat in awe and felt

myself at a disadvantage.

But when asked to find the area under a curve, they were absolutely

dumbfounded. It took me little time to memorize the trig fuction integrals,

etc., but them the entire semester to think of calculus in the same way I

did. I realized I had been at no disadvantage at all for not having taken

an AP course.

The best thing we can do is give students a firm FOUNDATION in high

school and let colleges build on that in such a way as to make calculus (or

whatever subject) useful later in their college experience. (I didn't USE

calculus until Physical Chemistry and E&M Physics.)

Covering more in high school doesn't mean teaching more. That

attempt creates (or at least contributes to) the difficulties college

instructors now face.

Chris

-- Chris Clayton

misterc@uiuc.edu http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~misterc

Senior+, Teaching of Chemistry University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign

MSN Chemistry Forum Tutor: ChrisC_Asst@msn.com

For those of you following my graduation saga...IT'S NOT EVER YET!!!

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