A group of five East Surry High School students are taking an interactive Calculus III class as a part of their dual enrollment studies at Surry Community College.
Community college math instructor Ann Slate teaches the students through the Career and College Promise tuition-free program at Surry Community College’s Pilot Center.
“Four of these students are high school seniors, and one is a junior. Not only is it somewhat unusual for a community college to have math classes up through Calculus III, it is also extremely unusual for high school students to take classes at this level,” Slate said. “Most students do not take this level of math until their second semester or second year of college. We are incredibly excited to be able to offer this level of study to our students.”
Recently, Slate’s students conducted some activities including visual exploration of topics related to parametric equations.
“It was a nice change for the students to be able to create the sketches by hand instead of relying on technology to generate the visual,” Slate said.
Students created cycloids and epicycloids, both of which are paths followed by a point on the edge of a circle as it travels. A cycloid follows the path of the circle along a straight line, and an epicycloid follows the path around the edge of another circle. Some applications of these concepts include arches in architecture, pendulum applications, and gear tooth profiles.
Students also examined speed compared to distance by using a brachistochrone to illustrate that an object traveling in an inverted cycloid will reach a downhill point faster than traveling in a straight line.
“I am really proud of these Calculus III students and the level of mastery they have achieved,” Slate said. “They are earning high school and college credits simultaneously, which will give them a head start on a bachelor’s degree.
High school juniors and seniors interested in taking dual enrollment classes should talk to their guidance counselors for more information. Surry Community College is registering for summer classes now through May 18, and fall classes now through Aug. 3. For more information, go to surry.edu.