News: AP Chemistry and Multivariable Calculus to be Integrated into Class Offerings
In the 2014-15 school year M-A plans on expanding the class options by adding AP chemistry, multivariable calculus, and Mandarin 1 and 2.
The math department recently decided to offer multivariable calculus to students who have completed calculus BC in their sophomore or junior year. The decision came as a result of an increased demand for the course from both eligible students and the community. Calculus teacher and math department chair Gregg Whitnah expects an enrollment of about 20 to 30 students in the 2014 to 2015 school year.
He encourages students who wish to pursue a major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) to take the class. Multivariable is also a suitable choice for those who simply want the challenge or “to look impressive for their college admission process.”
While Whitnah anticipates the class to be difficult, he does not expect it to be overwhelming for the students. “In college it is extremely difficult,” he explained, but because there is no AP test or other time constraint on the curriculum, “the instructor will be able to pace the class so I’d like to think that it will be very reasonable for the students.”
Because multivariable calculus is a two-semester course, there will be sufficient time to delve into other extended mathematical concepts, such as differential equations.
Right now the math department is unsure who will teach the course; it could be a current teacher at M-A, an instructor from Cañada College, or a new teacher to the math department.
The chemistry teachers, Mrs. Caryotakis, Ms. Meloy and Mrs. McAllister are also currently designing a brand-new AP chemistry course. One of the three will teach the course, but so far it undecided as to who. All three of them are very excited to be offering the class and look forward to it next year.
AP chemistry will expand on ideas that are briefly mentioned in regular chemistry, environmental chemistry and AS chemistry. AP chemistry is a viable option for students who have excelled in Algebra II and AS chemistry. The chemistry teachers encourage students who plan on taking AP chemistry to have “a solid foundation in mathematics and a basic understanding of chemistry.”
Mrs. McAllister stresses that students should be able to understand and recognize natural logs, exponential powers, quadratic equations and other types of problem solving. The AP chemistry curriculum extends the concepts presented in AS chemistry, covering topics such as equilibrium, acids, bases, and cell potentials.
The course also utilizes inquiry-based labs, student-designed experiments, and it requires students to record their findings in “laboratory notebooks,” which replace worksheets. Overall, the course is more student-directed than other classes.
The final added class for the 2014-15 school year will be Mandarin due to vehement encouragement from the La Entrada community. Next year, M-A will be offering Mandarin 1 and 2. It is still unclear as to who will teach the course. Depending on how many students enroll, more levels may be added in future years.