In the Classroom: AP Calculus BC

Carl Stagg’s dedicated AP Calc students tackle complex problems with real world applications.
Carl Stagg’s AP Calculus BC class is small, but spirited. It’s surprisingly energetic for a Calculus classroom and Carl keeps it light, encouraging his students to work together to tackle difficult and complex problems.

Right now, the class is learning to calculate volumes and arc lengths. Volume, Carl demonstrates, has applications to all kinds of industrial work where it’s necessary to discover the volume of an irregularly shaped object, “going beyond simple spheres, cones, and boxes to look at objects that have differently shaped outlines.” They spend much of the class working on a problem like this, joking, collaborating, and sometimes finding the correct answer before Carl can.

“What’s great about them,” he says, “is that these are kids who have already seen Calculus and were not scared away. They said, “This stuff is really hard, but either I really like it or I know this is going to be important for what I want to do later.” These are really motivated students and they keep me on my toes coming up with new ways to challenge them. Sometimes I’ll come in with what I think is a challenging problem and they’ll finish it in a minute and be sitting there going, ‘What’s next?’ No matter what the case is, they’re always ready to do more and engage with the material on a deeper level.”

Leave a Reply