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Re: calc. reform (LH&E Text)
Posted:
Jun 11, 1997 3:24 PM


I taught AP Calculus using the "Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions" version of Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards. I found it to be one of the best calculus texts I have taught from. Unfortunately, without much supplementary material, I don't believe it is appropriate for the new AP Calc course description. I have not decided what text to use next year. I'm still considering LH&E, but Key Curriculum's "Calculus" by Foerster is quite appealing.
Below are some random thoughts I have of LH&E:
1. The discussion of limits, limit properties, and evaluation of limits is very good. Quite a few examples, and it does discuss, although not heavily, the epsilondelta formal definition. The book uses tables of values, graphs, and algebra to study limits.
2. The presentation of derivatives is quite good. It does get rather heavy into the algebraic manipulation of finding derivatives using the limit definition. (This isn't necessarily a bad thing!) The presentation of the product and quotient rules and the chain rule is excellent.
3. There are many purely mathematical examples and exercises, as well as applied examples and exercises. I also teach AP Physics and I noticed many good physics related examples.
4. The book uses graphs (many are screen dumps from graphics utilities) to support various concepts, including Rolle's Theorem and the MVT. Good discussion of applications of the derivative.
5. The book has a very strong introduction to antiderivatives, and the definite integral is approached adequately (I've seen better presentations, but this is fine). I don't like their approach to Riemann Sums and using summation formulas to find areas. My students found it very confusing. I usually supplement here.
6. I like the fact that differential equations are covered fairly early in the text (chapter 5, with Transcendental Functions).
7. Purely mathematical applications of integration (area between curves, volumes of revolution) are covered rather nicely. However, physical applications (work, and fluid pressure and force) leave quite a bit to be desired (this is where I also supplement).
In general, I like the text. The reason I'm considering changing books is that Foerster's book takes a novel approach that I think I (and my students) would enjoy. If you want a text that is seriously into the algebra, I think LH&E is the way to go. Foerster's book isn't as heavy on the algebra, but by no means dismisses it.
Hope this helps. If any of my random thoughts need elaboration or clarification, feel free to contact me.
Steve Miller Head, Dept. of Mathematics The Barrie School Silver Spring, MD sjm@xpress.net
apcalc@ets.org wrote: > > Does anyone have an opinion on "Calculus" by Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards, > as an AP Calculus text?



