Calculus Challenges for End of Year Review

This post has been a little while in coming since the end of the school year meant a lot of concerts, graduation parties, retirement parties, etc, etc - as I know you all understand.

Now that we have started summer, I feel like I have time to write about my latest  review idea for my calculus class.  I started out with the grand plan of writing a calculus escape room...but that idea quickly went away as I discovered I had no real idea for writing a story about escaping something!  If you are interested in seeing a really great example of a fun escape room for your classroom, check out this one Calculus Escape my friend Jean Adams.

So, instead of an escape room, I just decided to come up with some challenges that students could work on completing.

First, I divided my students up into groups of 3 or 4.  I had eight groups in the classroom.  I started four groups with one challenge and four groups with another challenge.

Challenge #1 asked students to find the value of the derivative of nine functions at x = 1.

For example, you can see in the picture at the right...find the derivative of the function y = (x+4)/(3x-2) at x = 1.  The value is -14, so card 2 matches with card 9.  There are nine cards in this challenge and when the cards are matched correctly, a square is formed.

When the group felt like they were finished, they called me over and I checked their work.  It was a quick check, because I just memorized where each card went in the square based in the large numbers in the centers of the cards.

Challenge #2 was pretty quick and involved reviewing vocabulary.  Students were given a clue to a vocabulary word and a group of boxes to fill in.

Notice the shaded box...some of the boxes in each question were shaded.  Students used the letters in those boxes to unscramble a common phrase.  This was easy to check.

As groups finished these two challenges, I just switched them out so groups had something different to work on.

Students went on to work on other challenges other days.  I found it handy to have all of the challenges prepared on the first day, just in case some groups finished more quickly than others.

Other skills that were practiced in these challenges included:

3. implicit differentiation
4. curve sketching
5. Intermediate Value Theorem, Mean Value Theorem, Rolle's Theorem
6. volume
7. matching functions to their derivatives
8. u-substitution
9. limits
10. miscellaneous review 11th challenge is included - practice with position, velocity, and acceleration.

If you'd like to use this activity yourself - check it out here: 

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