School level

Teaching Calculus for Understanding

Welcome to the PDST “Teaching Calculus for Understanding” page. Below you’ll find a unit of learning for introducing calculus to students. This page is designed to explore approaches for distance learning in mathematics. The content is not intended to be prescriptive – rather it is presented as a series of suggestions for teachers to take and adapt. To support you all in your distance-learning efforts we’re also including video tutorials which explore:

  • key features of the lessons which make for effective distance learning
  • how to use a learning management system effectively
  • getting set up on your learning management system

The intention is that in highlighting these features, you might identify which ones you feel will work for your students and your context, take these ideas and apply them when you’re teaching other topics in maths. While we’ve chosen the introduction to calculus as our area of focus – the approaches used could be applied to any mathematical content.

The unit is designed to provide students with learning experiences which encourage development of deep conceptual understanding. While the unit takes time to complete, it is our experience that students who engage with the material are able to move through later parts of calculus more quickly and are better able to adapt their thinking to address new content and problems.

Learning Outcomes for this Unit

This unit of learning addresses the following learning outcomes from the Leaving Certificate Mathematics syllabus:

All students should be able to:

  • find first and second derivatives of linear, quadratic and cubic functions by rule
  • associate derivatives with slopes and tangent lines
  • apply differentiation to rates of change

In addition, students working at HL should be able to:

  • differentiate linear and quadratic functions from first principles
  • differentiate polynomial functions
  • find the derivatives of sums and differences

This unit is made up of five lessons – each with its own learning intentions. An overview of the sequencing of the lessons within the unit is provided in the following graphic.

Choose from...

Add a resource

Did you know that your Internet Explorer is out of date

To get the best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser.

Upgrade your browser now

Registering for a Scoilnet Account – your first step to contributing and sharing

What you need...

To register for a Scoilnet Account you will need to have a Teaching Council number and a roll number for your school in Ireland.

If you already have a Scoilnet Account then you can sign in here.

The benefits...

A Scoilnet account will allow you to upload your resources or weblinks to Scoilnet as well as enabling you to share and add resources to a favourites listing. Users who have a Scoilnet Account will also be able to fully access Scoilnet Maps and Census@School from home.


Add this resource to your Learning Path

You need to login before you can add this resource to a Learning Path