Unit 6 – Integration and Accumulation of Change

Unit 6 develops the ideas behind integration, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and Accumulation. (CED – 2019 p. 109 – 128). These topics account for about 17 – 20% of questions on the AB exam and 17 – 20% of the BC questions.

Topics 6.1 – 6.4 Working up to the FTC

Topic 6.1 Exploring Accumulations of Change Accumulation is introduced through finding the area between the graph of a function and the x-axis. Positive and negative rates of change, unit analysis.

Topic 6.2 Approximating Areas with Riemann Sums Left-, right-, midpoint Riemann sums, and Trapezoidal sums, with uniform partitions are developed. Approximating with numerical methods, including use of technology are considered. Determining if the approximation is an over- or under-approximation.

Topic 6.3 Riemann Sums, Summation Notation and the Definite Integral. The definition integral is defined as the limit of a Riemann sum.

Topic 6.4 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC) and Accumulation Functions Functions defined by definite integrals and the FTC.

Topic 6.5 Interpreting the Behavior of Accumulation Functions Involving Area Graphical, numerical, analytical, and verbal representations.

Topic 6.6 Applying Properties of Definite Integrals Using the properties to ease evaluation, evaluating by geometry and dealing with discontinuities.

Topic 6.7 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus and Definite Integrals Antiderivatives. (Note: I suggest writing the FTC in this form $displaystyle int_{a}^{b}{{{f}'left( x right)}}dx=fleft( b right)-fleft( a right)$ because it seem more efficient then using upper case and lower case f.)

Topics 6.5 – 6.14 Techniques of Integration

Topic 6.8 Finding Antiderivatives and Indefinite Integrals: Basic Rules and Notation. Using basic differentiation formulas to find antiderivatives. Some functions do not have closed-form antiderivatives. (Note: While textbooks often consider antidifferentiation before any work with integration, this seems like the place to introduce them. After learning the FTC students have a reason to find antiderivatives. See Integration Itinerary

Topic 6.9 Integration Using Substitution The u-substitution method. Changing the limits of integration when substituting.

Topic 6.10 Integrating Functions Using Long Division and Completing the Square

Topic 6.11 Integrating Using Integration by Parts (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.12 Integrating Using Linear Partial Fractions (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.13 Evaluating Improper Integrals (BC ONLY) Showing the work requires students to show correct limit notation.

Topic 6.14 Selecting Techniques for Antidifferentiation This means practice, practice, practice.

Timing

The suggested time for Unit 6 is  18 – 20 classes for AB and 15 – 16 for BC of 40 – 50-minute class periods, this includes time for testing etc.

Previous posts on these topics include:

Introducing Integration

Integration Itinerary

The Old Pump and Flying to Integrationland   Two introductory explorations

Working Towards Riemann Sums

Riemann Sums

The Definition of the Definite Integral

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

Y the FTC?

Area Between Curves

Under is a Long Way Down

Properties of Integrals

Trapezoids – Ancient and Modern  On Trapezoid sums

Good Question 9 – Riemann Reversed   Given a Riemann sum can you find the Integral it converges to?  A common and difficult AP Exam problem

Adapting 2021 AB 1 / BC 1

Adapting 2021 AB 4 / BC 4

Accumulation

Accumulation: Need an Amount?

Good Question 7 – 2009 AB 3

Good Question 8 – or Not?  Unit analysis

AP Exams Accumulation Question    A summary of accumulation ideas.

Graphing with Accumulation 1

Graphing with Accumulation 2

Accumulation and Differential Equations

Painting a Point

Techniques of Integrations (AB and BC)

Antidifferentiation

Why Muss with the “+C”?

Good Question 13  More than one way to skin a cat.

Integration by Parts – a BC Topic

Integration by Parts 1

Integration by Part 2

Parts and More Parts

Good Question 12 – Parts with a Constant?

Modified Tabular Integration

Improper Integrals and Proper Areas

Math vs the Real World Why $displaystyle int_{{-infty }}^{infty }{{frac{1}{x}}}dx$ does not converge.

Here are links to the full list of posts discussing the ten units in the 2019 Course and Exam Description.

2019 CED – Unit 1: Limits and Continuity

2019 CED – Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties.

2019 CED – Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite , Implicit, and Inverse Functions

2019 CED – Unit 4 Contextual Applications of the Derivative  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 5 Analytical Applications of Differentiation  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 6 Integration and Accumulation of Change

2019 – CED Unit 7 Differential Equations  Consider teaching after Unit 8

2019 – CED Unit 8 Applications of Integration   Consider teaching after Unit 6, before Unit 7

2019 – CED Unit 9 Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Values Functions

2019 CED Unit 10 Infinite Sequences and Series

Integration and Accumulation of Change – Unit 6

Unit 6 develops the ideas behind integration, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and Accumulation. (CED – 2019 p. 109 – 128 ). These topics account for about 17 – 20% of questions on the AB exam and 17 – 20% of the BC questions.

Topics 6.1 – 6.4 Working up to the FTC

Topic 6.1 Exploring Accumulations of Change Accumulation is introduced through finding the area between the graph of a function and the x-axis. Positive and negative rates of change, unit analysis.

Topic 6.2 Approximating Areas with Riemann Sums Left-, right-, midpoint Riemann sums, and Trapezoidal sums, with uniform partitions are developed. Approximating with numerical methods, including use of technology are considered. Determining if the approximation is an over- or under-approximation.

Topic 6.3 Riemann Sums, Summation Notation and the Definite Integral. The definition integral is defined as the limit of a Riemann sum.

Topic 6.4 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC) and Accumulation Functions Functions defined by definite integrals and the FTC.

Topic 6.5 Interpreting the Behavior of Accumulation Functions Involving Area Graphical, numerical, analytical, and verbal representations.

Topic 6.6 Applying Properties of Definite Integrals Using the properties to ease evaluation, evaluating by geometry and dealing with discontinuities.

Topic 6.7 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus and Definite Integrals  Antiderivatives. (Note: I suggest writing the FTC in this form $\displaystyle \int_{a}^{b}{{{f}'\left( x \right)}}dx=f\left( b \right)-f\left( a \right)$ because it seem more efficient then using upper case and lower case f.)

Topics 6.5 – 6.14 Techniques of Integration

Topic 6.8 Finding Antiderivatives and Indefinite Integrals: Basic Rules and Notation. Using basic differentiation formulas to find antiderivatives. Some functions do not have closed-form antiderivatives. (Note: While textbooks often consider antidifferentiation before any work with integration, this seems like the place to introduce them. After learning the FTC students have a reason to find antiderivatives. See Integration Itinerary

Topic 6.9 Integration Using Substitution The u-substitution method. Changing the limits of integration when substituting.

Topic 6.10 Integrating Functions Using Long Division and Completing the Square

Topic 6.11 Integrating Using Integration by Parts  (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.12 Integrating Using Linear Partial Fractions  (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.13 Evaluating Improper Integrals (BC ONLY) Showing the work requires students to show correct limit notation.

Topic 6.14 Selecting Techniques for Antidifferentiation This means practice, practice, practice.

Timing

The suggested time for Unit 6 is  18 – 20 classes for AB and 15 – 16 for BC of 40 – 50-minute class periods, this includes time for testing etc.

Previous posts on these topics include:

Introducing Integration

Integration Itinerary

The Old Pump and Flying to Integrationland   Two introductory explorations

Working Towards Riemann Sums

Riemann Sums

The Definition of the Definite Integral

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

Y the FTC?

Area Between Curves

Under is a Long Way Down

Properties of Integrals

Trapezoids – Ancient and Modern  On Trapezoid sums

Good Question 9 – Riemann Reversed   Given a Riemann sum can you find the Integral it converges to?  A common and difficult AP Exam problem

Accumulation

Accumulation: Need an Amount?

Good Question 7 – 2009 AB 3

Good Question 8 – or Not?  Unit analysis

AP Exams Accumulation Question    A summary of accumulation ideas.

Graphing with Accumulation 1

Graphing with Accumulation 2

Accumulation and Differential Equations

Painting a Point

Techniques of Integrations (AB and BC)

Antidifferentiation

Why Muss with the “+C”?

Good Question 13  More than one way to skin a cat.

Integration by Parts – a BC Topic

Integration by Parts 1

Integration by Part 2

Parts and More Parts

Good Question 12 – Parts with a Constant?

Modified Tabular Integration

Improper Integrals and Proper Areas

Math vs the Real World Why $\displaystyle \int_{{-\infty }}^{\infty }{{\frac{1}{x}}}dx$ does not converge.

Here are links to the full list of posts discussing the ten units in the 2019 Course and Exam Description.

2019 CED – Unit 1: Limits and Continuity

2019 CED – Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties.

2019 CED – Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite , Implicit, and Inverse Functions

2019 CED – Unit 4 Contextual Applications of the Derivative  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 5 Analytical Applications of Differentiation  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 6 Integration and Accumulation of Change

2019 – CED Unit 7 Differential Equations  Consider teaching after Unit 8

2019 – CED Unit 8 Applications of Integration   Consider teaching after Unit 6, before Unit 7

2019 – CED Unit 9 Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Values Functions

2019 CED Unit 10 Infinite Sequences and Series

2019 CED Unit 6: Integration and Accumulation of Change

Unit 6 develops the ideas behind integration, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and Accumulation. (CED – 2019 p. 109 – 128 ). These topics account for about 17 – 20% of questions on the AB exam and 17 – 20% of the BC questions.

Topics 6.1 – 6.4 Working up to the FTC

Topic 6.1 Exploring Accumulations of Change Accumulation is introduced through finding the area between the graph of a function and the x-axis. Positive and negative rates of change, unit analysis.

Topic 6.2 Approximating Areas with Riemann Sums Left-, right-, midpoint Riemann sums, and Trapezoidal sums, with uniform partitions are developed. Approximating with numerical methods, including use of technology are considered. Determining if the approximation is an over- or under-approximation.

Topic 6.3 Riemann Sums, Summation Notation and the Definite Integral. The definition integral is defined as the limit of a Riemann sum.

Topic 6.4 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC) and Accumulation Functions Functions defined by definite integrals and the FTC.

Topic 6.5 Interpreting the Behavior of Accumulation Functions Involving Area Graphical, numerical, analytical, and verbal representations.

Topic 6.6 Applying Properties of Definite Integrals Using the properties to ease evaluation, evaluating by geometry and dealing with discontinuities.

Topic 6.7 The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus and Definite Integrals Antiderivatives. (Note: I suggest writing the FTC in this form $\displaystyle \int_{a}^{b}{{{f}'\left( x \right)}}dx=f\left( b \right)-f\left( a \right)$ because it seems more efficient than using upper case and lower-case f.)

Topics 6.5 – 6.14 Techniques of Integration

Topic 6.8 Finding Antiderivatives and Indefinite Integrals: Basic Rules and Notation. Using basic differentiation formulas to find antiderivatives. Some functions do not have closed-form antiderivatives. (Note: While textbooks often consider antidifferentiation before any work with integration, this seems like the place to introduce them. After learning the FTC students have a reason to find antiderivatives. See Integration Itinerary

Topic 6.9 Integration Using Substitution The u-substitution method. Changing the limits of integration when substituting.

Topic 6.10 Integrating Functions Using Long Division and Completing the Square

Topic 6.11 Integrating Using Integration by Parts (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.12 Integrating Using Linear Partial Fractions (BC ONLY)

Topic 6.13 Evaluating Improper Integrals (BC ONLY) Showing the work requires students to show correct limit notation.

Topic 6.14 Selecting Techniques for Antidifferentiation This means practice, practice, practice.

Timing

The suggested time for Unit 6 is  18 – 20 classes for AB and 15 – 16 for BC of 40 – 50-minute class periods, this includes time for testing etc.

Previous posts on these topics include:

Introducing the Derivative

Integration Itinerary

The Old Pump and Flying to Integrationland   Two introductory explorations

Working Towards Riemann Sums

Riemann Sums

The Definition of the Definite Integral

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

Y the FTC?

Area Between Curves

Under is a Long Way Down

Properties of Integrals

Trapezoids – Ancient and Modern  On Trapezoid sums

Good Question 9 – Riemann Reversed   Given a Riemann sum can you find the Integral it converges to?  A common and difficult AP Exam problem

Accumulation

Accumulation: Need an Amount?

Good Question 7 – 2009 AB 3

Good Question 8 – or Not?  Unit analysis

AP Exams Accumulation Question    A summary of accumulation ideas.

Graphing with Accumulation 1

Graphing with Accumulation 2

Accumulation and Differential Equations

Painting a Point

Techniques of Integrations (AB and BC)

Antidifferentiation

Why Muss with the “+C”?

Good Question 13  More than one way to skin a cat.

Integration by Parts – a BC Topic

Integration by Parts 1

Integration by Part 2

Parts and More Parts

Good Question 12 – Parts with a Constant?

Modified Tabular Integration

Improper Integrals and Proper Areas

Math vs the Real World Why $\displaystyle \int_{{-\infty }}^{\infty }{{\frac{1}{x}}}dx$ does not converge.

Here are links to the full list of posts discussing the ten units in the 2019 Course and Exam Description.

2019 CED – Unit 1: Limits and Continuity

2019 CED – Unit 2: Differentiation: Definition and Fundamental Properties.

2019 CED – Unit 3: Differentiation: Composite , Implicit, and Inverse Functions

2019 CED – Unit 4 Contextual Applications of the Derivative  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 5 Analytical Applications of Differentiation  Consider teaching Unit 5 before Unit 4

2019 – CED Unit 6 Integration and Accumulation of Change

2019 – CED Unit 7 Differential Equations  Consider teaching after Unit 8

2019 – CED Unit 8 Applications of Integration   Consider teaching after Unit 6, before Unit 7

2019 – CED Unit 9 Parametric Equations, Polar Coordinates, and Vector-Values Functions

2019 CED Unit 10 Infinite Sequences and Series

Good Question 13

Let’s end the year with this problem that I came across a while ago in a review book:

Integrate $\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}$

It was a multiple-choice question and had four choices for the answer. The author intended it to be done with a u-substitution but being a bit rusty I tried integration by parts. I got the correct answer, but it was not among the choices. So I thought it would make a good challenge to work on over the holidays.

1. Find the antiderivative using a u-substitution.
2. Find the antiderivative using integration by parts.
3. Find the antiderivative using a different u-substitution.
4. Find the antiderivative by adding zero in a convenient form.

Your answers for 1, 3, and 4 should be the same, but look different from your answer to 2. The difference is NOT due to the constant of integration which is the same for all four answers. Show that the two forms are the same by

2. “Simplifying” your answer to 1, 3, 4 and get that third form again.

Give it a try before reading on. The solutions are below the picture.

Method 1: u-substitution

Integrate $\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}$

$u=x+1,x=u-1,dx=du$

$\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx=}\int{\left( u-1 \right)\sqrt{u}}du=\int{{{u}^{3/2}}-{{u}^{1/2}}}du=\tfrac{5}{2}{{u}^{5/2}}-\tfrac{3}{2}{{u}^{3/2}}$

$\tfrac{2}{5}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}-\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}+C$

Method 2: By Parts

Integrate $\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}$

$u=x,du=dx$

$dv=\sqrt{x+1}dx,v=\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}$

$\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}=\tfrac{2}{3}x{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}-\int{\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}dx}=$

$\tfrac{2}{3}x{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}-\tfrac{4}{15}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}+C$

Method 3: A different u-substitution

Integrate $\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}$

$u=\sqrt{x+1},x={{u}^{2}}-1,$

$du=\tfrac{1}{2}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{-1/2}}dx,dx=2udu$

$2{{\int{\left( {{u}^{2}}-1 \right){{u}^{2}}}}^{{}}}du=2\int{{{u}^{4}}-{{u}^{2}}}du=\tfrac{2}{5}{{u}^{5}}-\tfrac{2}{3}{{u}^{3}}=$

$\tfrac{2}{5}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}-\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}+C$

This gives the same answer as Method 1.

Method 4: Add zero in a convenient form.

Integrate $\int{x\sqrt{x+1}dx}$

$\int{x\sqrt{x+1}}dx=\int{x\sqrt{x+1}+\sqrt{x+1}-\sqrt{x+1} dx=}$

$\int{\left( x+1 \right)\sqrt{x+1}-\sqrt{x+1}}dx=$

$\int{{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}-{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{1/2}}dx}=$

$\tfrac{2}{5}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}-\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}+C$

This, also, gives the same answer as Methods 1 and 3.

So, by a vote of three to one Method 2 must be wrong. Yes, no, maybe?

No, all four answers are the same. Often when you get two forms for the same antiderivative, the problem is with the constant of integration. That is not the case here. We can show that the answers are the same by factoring out a common factor of ${{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}$. (Factoring the term with the lowest fractional exponent often is the key to simplifying expressions of this kind.)

Simplify the answer for Method 2:

$\tfrac{2}{3}x{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}-\tfrac{4}{15}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}+C=$

$\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}\left( x-\tfrac{2}{5}\left( x+1 \right) \right)+C=$

$\displaystyle \tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}\left( \frac{5x-2x-2}{5} \right)+C=$

$\tfrac{2}{15}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}\left( 3x-2 \right)+C$

Simplify the answer for Methods 1, 3, and 4:

$\tfrac{2}{5}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{5/2}}-\tfrac{2}{3}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}+C=$

$\tfrac{2}{15}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}\left( 3\left( x+1 \right)-5 \right)+C=$

$\tfrac{2}{15}{{\left( x+1 \right)}^{3/2}}\left( 3x-2 \right)+C$

So, same answer and same constant.

Is this a good question? No and yes.

As a multiple-choice question, no, this is not a good question. It is reasonable that a student may use the method of integration by parts. His or her answer is not among the choices, but they have done nothing wrong. Obviously, you cannot include both answers, since then there will be two correct choices. Moral: writing a multiple-choice question is not as simple as it seems.

From another point of view, yes, this is a good question, but not for multiple-choice. You can use it in your class to widen your students’ perspective. Give the class a hint on where to start. Even better, ask the class to suggest methods; if necessary, suggest methods until you have all four (… maybe there is even a fifth). Assign one-quarter of your class to do the problem by each method. Then have them compare their results. Finally, have them do the simplification to show that the answers are the same.

My next post will be after the holidays.

.

Parts and More Parts

At an APSI this summer the participants and I got to discussing the “tabular method” for integration by parts. Since we were getting far from what is tested on the BC Calculus exams, I ended the discussion and said for those that were interested I would post more on the tabular method this blog going farther than just the basic set up. So here goes.

Here are some previous posts on integration by parts and the tabular method

Integration by Parts 1 discusses the basics of the method. This is as far as a BC course needs to go.

Integration by Parts 2 introduces the tabular method

Modified Tabular Integration presents a very quick and slick way of doing the tabular method without making a table. This is worth knowing.

There is also a video on integration by parts here. Scroll down to “Antiderivatives 5: A BC topic – Integration by parts.” The tabular method is discussed starting about time 15:16. There are several ways of setting up the table; one is shown here and a slightly different way is in the Integration by Parts 2 post above. There are others.

Going further with the tabular method.

The tabular method works well if one of the factors in the original integrand is a polynomial; eventually its derivative will be zero and you are done. These are shown in the examples in the posts above and Example 1 below. To complete the topic, this post will show two other things that can happen when using integration by parts and the tabular method.

First we look at an example with a polynomial factor and learn how to stop midway through. Why stop? Because often there will be no end if you don’t stop. There are ways to complete the integration as shown in the examples.

Example 1:  Find $\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{\left( 4{{x}^{3}} \right)\cos \left( x \right)dx}$ by the tabular method (See Integration by Parts 2 for more detail on how to set the table up)

Adding the last column gives the antiderivative:

$\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{\left( 4{{x}^{3}} \right)\cos \left( x \right)dx}=4{{x}^{3}}\sin \left( x \right)+12{{x}^{2}}\cos \left( x \right)-24x\sin \left( x \right)-24\sin \left( x \right)+C$

Now say you wanted to stop after $12{{x}^{2}}\cos \left( x \right)$. Example 2 shows why you want (need) to stop. In Example 1 you will have

$\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{\left( 4{{x}^{3}} \right)\cos \left( x \right)dx}=4{{x}^{3}}\sin \left( x \right)+12{{x}^{2}}\sin \left( x \right)+\int_{{}}^{{}}{-24x\cos \left( x \right)}dx$

The integrand on the right is the product of the last column in the row at which you stopped and the first two columns in the next row, as shown in yellow above.

Example 2 Find $\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)dx}$

As you can see things are just repeating the lines above sometimes with minus signs. However, if we stop on the third line we can write:

$\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)dx={{e}^{x}}\sin \left( x \right)}+{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)-\int_{{}}^{{}}{{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)dx}$

The integral at the end is identical to the original integral.  We can continue by adding the integral to both sides:

$\displaystyle 2\int_{{}}^{{}}{{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)dx={{e}^{x}}\sin \left( x \right)}+{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)$

Finally, we divide by 2 and have the antiderivative we were trying to find:

$\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)dx=\tfrac{1}{2}{{e}^{x}}\sin \left( x \right)}+\tfrac{1}{2}{{e}^{x}}\cos \left( x \right)+C$

In working this type of problem you must be aware of that the original integrand showing up again can happen and what to do if it does. As long as the coefficient is not +1, we can proceed as above. The same thing happens if we do not use the tabular method. (If the coefficient is +1 then the other terms on the right will add to zero and you need to make different choices for u and dv.)

Reduction Formulas.

Another use of integration by parts is to produce formulas for integrals involving powers. An integral whose integrand is of less degree than the original, but of the same form results. The formula is then iterated to continually reduce the degree until the final integral can be integrated easily.

Example 3: Find $\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{{{x}^{n}}{{e}^{x}}dx}$

Let $u={{x}^{n}},\ du=n{{x}^{n-1}}dx,\ dv={{e}^{x}}dx,\ v={{e}^{x}}$

$\displaystyle \int_{{}}^{{}}{{{x}^{n}}{{e}^{x}}dx}={{x}^{n}}{{e}^{x}}-n\int_{{}}^{{}}{{{x}^{n-1}}{{e}^{x}}dx}$

This is a reduction formula; the second integral is the same as the first, but of lower degree. Here is how it is used.  At each step the integrand is the same as the original, but one degree lower. So the formula can be applied again, three more times in this example.

Most textbooks have a short selection of reduction formulas.

Final Thoughts.

Back in the “old days”, BC (before calculators), beginning calculus courses spent a lot of time on the topic of “Techniques of Integration.” This included integration by parts, algebraic techniques, techniques known as trig-substitutions, and others. Mathematicians and engineers had tables of integrals listing over a thousand forms and students were taught how to use the tables and distinguish between similar forms in the tables. (See the photo below from the fourteenth edition of the CRC tables (c) 1965.) Current textbooks often contain such sections still.

Today, none of this is necessary. CAS calculators can find the antiderivatives of almost any integral. Websites such as WolframAlpha are also available to do this work.

I’m not sure why the College Board recently expanded slightly the list of types of antiderivatives tested on the exams. Certainly a few of the basic types should be included in a course, but what students really need to know is how to write the integral appropriate to a problem, and what definite and indefinite integrals mean. This, in my opinion, is far more important than being able to crank out antiderivatives of increasingly complicated expressions: let technology do that – or buy yourself an integral table. Just saying … .

Integration Itinerary

Before I write about integration, I’d like to say a few words about the order of topics. Since I assume most of you are AP Calculus teachers, the list of concepts and topics goes something like this:

• Area of a region between the graph and the x-axis, which leads to
• Riemann sums, which leads to
• The definition of the definitive integral.
• Numerical integration – left-, right-, upper-, lower-, midpoint sums. The Trapezoidal Rule and Trapezoidal approximations. Integration with technology.
• The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (FTC)
• Applications of Integration
• Introduction to differential equations.

Your preferred order of topics may be slightly different.

What is missing from this list is antidifferentiation or techniques of integration. There are several places where teachers have placed it with successful results.

1. Many books and therefore many teachers place the topic of antidifferentiation at the very end of the derivative work or the very beginning of the integration. This has the advantage of having your students know how to do at least simple antidifferentiation when they need it right after the FTC. On the other hand, at this point students may not see the need for it and see it as the “game” of reverse differentiation.
2. A more natural place to tackle it is immediately after the FTC. The advantage here is that now students have a reason to want to antidifferentiate so they can evaluate definite integrals.
3. Other teachers change the order above slightly and teach applications before the FTC. They set up Riemann sums and definite integrals for the various applications and then have the student evaluate the integrals on their calculators.
In the usual order listed above each application problem has two parts: the first is to set up the integral and then the antidifferentiation to evaluate it. Often the antidifferentiation is the longer part. By using technology to do the evaluation, students need only concentrate on setting up the correct definite integral and quickly do the evaluation on their calculator.
Once the students are good at applications they then go on to the FTC and antidifferentiation as separate new topics. While learning antidifferentiation techniques teachers can assign one or two applications each night so students get more practice (spiraling).

I do not advocate one or the other of these approaches. They all have been tried and they all work. I am just pointing out the different ways so you will know that there is a choice. Pick the order you are comfortable with or pick a new order if you want to try something different.