Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Brabec, K. C. 2023. A Collection of Calculus Lesson Plans: Deriving the 'Why' Behind Derivatives. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Kasey Brabec 2023.


The traditional mathematics classroom is led with a focus on procedural understanding, with deep conceptual understanding considered to be unimportant or too difficult to teach within the allotted time. Both levels of understanding are important mathematical competencies, as it is rare for either of them to function well without accessibility to the other. The disparity between conceptual understanding and procedural understanding in the mathematics classroom is no larger than in courses like Calculus. This project is a collection of fifteen lesson plans constructed with an emphasis on conceptual understanding and the connectivity of Calculus. Each lesson plan’s overview contains the lessons objectives, activities and their approximated times, materials, and lesson connections (how each lesson and the concepts they contain will be related back to each other). The lesson plan also contains annotations for transitioning between activities, guided questions, anticipated responses, and solutions. Activities within each lesson plan are created with potential student observations and rehearsal of previous knowledge in mind. After previously learned material is rediscovered, students are then able to connect old and new concepts together, like continuity and piecewise functions, further developing their conceptual understanding.