Collaborative Research: Project DIRACC: Developing and Investigating a Rigorous Approach to Conceptual Calculus

Project: Research project

Project Details


Calculus reform and using technology to teach calculus are two longtime endeavors that appear to have failed to make the differences in student understanding predicted by proponents. One reason for the lack of effect is that the fundamental structure of the underlying curriculum remains unchanged. It does not consider seriously students development of richly connected meanings for rate-of-change functions (aka derivatives) and accumulation functions (aka integrals). We at ASU developed and
successfully implemented a first calculus course that addresses this challenge by making the fundamental theorem of calculus central to every aspect of students experience of calculus.

In this project we (ASU, U Idaho, and Chandler-Gilbert CC) propose to build on the success of the first course to redesign and implement the second and third calculus courses, deploy them to all three institutions, investigate students learning in both redesigned and traditional courses, create professional development programs for instructors new to this approach.

The courses in this sequence will be highly conceptual and explicitly computationalsimultaneously. The courses will be highly conceptual because they will be about students development of coherent meanings for ideas of calculus that are applicable throughout calculus and that facilitate their learning of mathematical ideas beyond calculus. They also acknowledge and address known problems in
students preparation for calculus. The sequence will be explicitly computational because, as in the existing first course, students will use computers to represent processes that define functions that model situationsand which then become objects of study themselves.
Effective start/end date9/15/168/31/19


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $810,939.00

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