There Are Infinite Benefits to Taking BC Calculus

Spencer Mattes, Staff Writer

This year, on the third floor of Mepham High School, a new class is blossoming. Each day, during second period, one can hear ardent students discussing a multitude of advanced calculus concepts. Topics range from derivatives, to the iconic Taylor Series unit. As a member of the inaugural cohort of BC Calculus, I am enjoying the excitement and challenge that this class has to offer. Hopefully, future classes of BC Calculus students will enjoy what the course has to offer. I implore all students that have any interest in understanding and pursuing advanced mathematics to partake in this engaging learning experience.

When making a schedule, one will be given two options for AP Calculus: AB and BC. Both AB and BC Calculus cover iconic calculus concepts, which include but are not limited to: limits, derivatives, and integrals. However, BC Calculus sets itself apart with multiple unique units and concepts. Why stop at normal integrals, when you can discuss improper integrals as well? Taking BC Calculus allows students to explore concepts on a more sophisticated level and utilize methods that will impress your family and friends. Just imagine the amazing conversations that can be started from referencing an obscure BC Calculus technique.

In short, BC Calculus covers the AB Calculus curriculum at a faster rate which allows the class to delve deeper into learning and understanding a plethora of fascinating mathematical concepts and theories. If one is planning on taking AB Calculus, I would suggest taking BC Calculus, which will offer a more thorough and expansive curriculum.

To augment the fun, students have the opportunity to learn content unique to BC Calculus. Polar coordinates, Taylor Series, and parametric equations are among the unique topics explored in this class. These topics are engaging and offer students a fun glimpse into the exciting world of calculus. One could even say these topics are “tailor made” for passionate mathematics students.

Daniel O’Shea, a current student in BC Calculus, stated that the class “provides an opportunity for those who love mathematics to learn potentially challenging college level calculus in a fun and relaxing environment.”

Although this course may appear daunting, the course material is presented and taught in a way that is accessible to all who wish to learn and explore it. The course offers a plethora of opportunities to review and digest each unit thoroughly, so students can feel confident that they will completely understand the material before the next unit.

For those that are concerned about their average, there is no need to worry! There are a myriad of opportunities to earn extra credit by actively participating in each lesson. Who doesn’t love bonus points?

Mrs. O’Hagan, the teacher who will guide students through the course, is benevolent, dedicated and highly astute. In order to ensure that BC Calculus would run smoothly this year, she taught herself the entire curriculum last year! The effort she put in has paid dividends and has made for an engaging, fun and deeply interesting class.

When asked why students should take this course, Mrs. O’Hagan explained that “the best AP classes are the ones that prepare you for the academic rigor you will experience in college. BC Calculus is not so much about calculus as it is about challenging yourself now so that the transition to college is less daunting. I enjoy the camaraderie that exists in the BC classroom. The students and I work together to solve problems and enrich our understanding of higher level mathematics. I am sure none of my students would say this is an easy course, but all of them would say they have benefitted from taking it.”

On days where the content is especially difficult and arduous, she has been known to assuage her students’ mathematical pain with scrumptious snacks. Perplexing problems never seem daunting when snacking on Munchkins and Goldfish.

Most importantly, Mrs. O’Hagan encourages her students to ask questions about the content and think outside the box. By fostering an environment where students feel comfortable expressing their confusion, Mrs. O’Hagan ensures that every person in the room fully understands the curriculum.

BC Calculus is a unique and engaging learning experience that anyone who is passionate about mathematics should seriously consider taking.