Fun Calculus AP Activities

Let's face it - calculus is a difficult class.  Class is often the same - go over the homework, lecture on something new, do your homework.  Everyone needs a fun activity now and again - even the best math students appreciate a puzzle, a game, or a new approach.

Here are some of my favorite calculus activities that I have written and used in my own class.

1)  Derivative at a Point Hangman Game - In this activity, students practice finding the derivative of various functions at a given point.  While they practice, they play a game of hangman.  They have to keep playing until they get the phrase.  They could be lucky and only have to do a few problems, or they might be really unlucky and have to do a bunch.  Competition with their classmates is fierce!

2)  Halloween Review Puzzle- This is a fun review with a Halloween Theme.  The problems contained in this review cover many Calculus AB topics from the first quarter of the school year.  Students solve review problems to figure out the funny Halloween joke.

3)  Color My Math - Antiderivatives - I have several of these types of activities in my store.  Students work problems and then shade in a grid according to the directions.  A cool design will results.  This particular activity is good to use when introducing antiderivatives.

4)  Derivative of Logs and Exponentials - Line Up - This is a fun activity for students to practice derivatives of natural log and exponential functions.  They begin with any one of the 12 cards in the activity.  They find the derivative of the function given on that card.  They then find that derivative at the top of one of the other cards.  They then find the derivative on that card, and so on.  When the activity is completed, they should have looped around to get the derivative on top of the first card.  Great for self-checking.

5)  Equations of Tangent Lines Task Cards - Finally, class is so much more fun when you solve problems on task cards instead of a worksheet.  I don't know what it is about the questions on small little pieces of paper instead of altogether on one page...maybe there is more of a sense of accomplishment?  Who knows.  I have several sets of calculus task cards in my store.  This is an example of one that students use to practice finding the equations of tangent lines.

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