To Infinity and Beyond: Math Department to Launch Multivariable Calculus Class


Mike Ruggie

Mr. Ruggie will be teaching a new math course starting next semester, Multi- variable calculus. As his AP calculus students know, he will enjoy teaching his students how to solve difficult math problems.

Charlie Spungin, Editor-in-Chief

Find the three positive numbers with product 27 which minimizes the sum of the third with twice the second with four times the first.

If a question like this fills you with excitement, as it may for current AP Calculus BC students, a new math course can satisfy your wants next semester. Multivariable Calculus will be a one semester course taught by the Head of the Math Department Mr. Michael Ruggie. The course will focus on topics beyond the AP Calculus curriculum such as three-dimensional spaces and vectors.

“We offered that course several years ago, and we thought it was important to bring it back because there were kids who were at that level,” Director of Upper School Student Services Dr. Amy Taylor said. 

Mr. Ruggie found that some students did desire a course that covers the multivariable calculus material. “I had students come up to me and ask me if I would teach it for this year, and when I asked my classes who would be interested, there was a group of people who said they wanted to take it,” he said. 

Because the class only has four students, it will be taught very differently than are other math classes.

“I’m going to be there facilitating, and [the students] will be kind of doing their own thing and working together as groups, so we’ll all be working together.”

Because of what is taught in the course, it is very appealing to some based on their plans for the future. 

Senior Brandon Davis plans on taking engineering courses in college; he believes that multivariable calculus will help enhance his knowledge and prepare him for these rigorous college courses. 

“My previous calculus classes helped me understand and internalize different concepts in other STEM subjects, including chemistry and physics. I imagine that multivariable calculus will do the same, especially for creating another level of understanding in physics since it is based heavily on vectors. This, in turn, will help me succeed when entering freshman engineering.” he said. 

Though Davis is taking the course to help prepare him for his college courses, he also enjoys what he will be learning.

I am excited for the course because I get to learn more calculus to create new understandings and connections (a bit nerdy, I know). I always love learning math and science, so the course will allow me to learn more. Even though I will most likely have to take Calculus 3 in college anyway, the course will give me a chance to get a head start myself by familiarizing the concepts.”

The multivariable calculus course, though only being taken by a few students, presents many opportunities to these students who will build on their current math knowledge.