Calculus is as easy as pi for some sophomores

November 7, 2010 — by Priyanka Nookala

Sophomore Justin Chiang sits in his Calculus BC class working diligently to solve math problems. Of the six sophomores in calculus, Chiang is one of five sophomores in Calculus BC, the harder of the two calculus classes.

Chiang chose to take calculus because he completed Algebra 2 on his own while attending Redwood Middle School. He then studied Trigonometry/Precalculus Honors as a freshman.

“I didn’t accelerate classes because it was necessarily ‘too easy’; rather, I felt like I had the capacity to handle a more advanced class,” Chiang said.

Most students who take Trigonometry/Precalculus Honors as freshmen have already taken accelerated math classes in middle school. Most sophomores taking calculus say they enjoy math.

“I chose this course because I wanted to take the class. I actually like math,” sophomore Amanda Chow said.

For Chiang, math not only stimulates him but also has practical applications, which he appreciates.

“Math is good for developing logical reasoning skills and is applicable to life situations,” Chiang said.

According to teachers, sophomores taking calculus generally have no problem keeping up with the advanced class.

“Most people that are in the class are already at a really high level of math, [and] most of the kids are at about the same level with each other,” said Audrey Warmuth, who teaches Calculus BC.

Not only are these sophomores comfortable with the higher level of math, but they also say they rarely feel out of place in these classes.

“Sometimes the class may be considerably less interesting and socially ‘fun’ due to the lack of same-grade-level peers, but in general, I hardly notice the grade difference,” said Chiang.

Sophomores have proven to their teachers and friends that they really are socially well adjusted in this upper level course.

“I find that they fit right in,” said Warmuth. “They’re respected by their fellow classmates for their ability.”

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