Calculus Songs from Math Camp

Presented by
Dane Camp, PhD, Elmhurst College (IL)

Throughout nearly a score of years teaching AP calculus and college calculus, I have composed a number of songs to introduce, summarize, and solidify concepts. Not only do songs help pedagogically, they create an atmosphere of joy and excitement in the classroom. I will not only share songs that cover major topics in calculus, we will also discuss the fill in the blank method along with ways you can have students compose songs "live." Be prepared to sing along!

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Rick Heineman

I really like how your songs foster participation by students; even in the first song where it is less explicit, I feel like students would be translating the symbols into sounds in their heads as you sang, which is probably good for retention.

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:51 Permalink

In reply to by Rick Heineman

I agree with Rick. The student participation in the 2nd song seems especially useful, and reminds me a bit of the SMILES project in which the PIs (Lesser, Pearl, Weber) created statistics songs where students fill in missing bits. Dane, do many of your songs have these "blanks" for students to fill in?  In my own songwriting, I've found it pretty challenging to write songs with that option that are also decent songs.

Sat, 09/23/2017 - 15:29 Permalink

In reply to by crowther

Greg, my "style" has developed over the years and I have tried to work towards the fill in whenever possible. It increases participation. I often pause and wait. However, most of the fill in the blank material that I do are actually math poems

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:07 Permalink

In reply to by Rick Heineman

Rick, as probably know, some students gravitate to this kind of thing and really find it helps retention. Naturally, there are those who find it silly. That is why I try to keep the length of my songs to a minimum.

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:03 Permalink
Lynda Blodgett

A highly creative way to get students to remember the verbal interpretation of various mathematical symbols. I watched your presentation twice. I'll bet your students like you.

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 20:06 Permalink

I think the "fill-in-the-blank" strategy is a great way to achieve literacy goals.  I enjoyed looking over the songs in your fill-in-the-blank songbook and checking out your you tube resources - a great collection!

Also, I am very interested in how your "Call/Response Challenge" operates - I hope I can be back to discuss on Wednesday evening.

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 14:08 Permalink

In reply to by dpearl

I admit the "fill-in-the-blank" idea I stole from a presentation that I saw at a conference. The material that I have on YouTube was developed over several years and was on my school's website. The Voices conference nudged me to work everything up for YouTube so that it was open to everyone. There are poems and math "stories" besides the songs. The link to the whole channel is

As far as the Call/Response thing. Yes, we can discuss it this evening. It really is fun to do. I will make sure to discuss it then.

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:13 Permalink

great videoposter, Dane! so glad to "meet" again at this conference; tell me more about the call/response challenge

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 17:26 Permalink