Just Remember: + C Published 2008-05-07 under ,

It's AP time! And today is Calculus Day! All that work has come down to just one test. Derivatives, integrals, Riemann sums, rate of change, area of an object. Some memorization and a whole lot of problem solving. You have spent a year preparing your students and now they are on their own, hopefully with a working graphing calculator, new batteries, and a good nights sleep behind them.

Wait a minute... Did you tell them to remember the +C? Or more importantly, will your students remember?

For those non-Calc teachers, most answers to questions involving an integral include a +C (plus some constant). Often, this little item will earn a point for a student on the free-response section, or more accurately, a student will loose a point even if her solution demonstrates complete understanding of the math behind the question (sans the +C).

I was constantly trying to think of ways of getting my students to remember the +C. I tried the stick; I marked a solution totally wrong if it did not include the constant. I tried the carrot; I gave bonus points to students who spotted a missing +C in class work. (Students quickly learned to game this approach.)

A friend of mine has taken a totally different approach. He gathered all of his Calc students and took the picture below. Well Done! What a fun way to remind the students of the importance of +C.

Tech Tags: