Contextual Calculus: Using a story to tell a story

I am an assistant professor of mathematics at the Center for Learning Innovation, or CLI, at the University of Minnesota Rochester.  I teach students about Pre-Calculus and Calculus. I was given the task of developing a curriculum for pre-calc and calc that aligns with the principles of CLI, namely the emphasis on learning with understanding and integration across disciplines. What I tried to do is put more emphasis on application-oriented problems, especially those that involve other disciplines. As a direct result of the OIT Faculty Fellowship Program I was able to  create more contextual problems in WeBWorK (for online homework) and interdisciplinary projectsfor the course and at the same time, concepts with contexts were put together in a new teaching sequence (compared to a regular Calculus sequence) to help improve student understanding of the broader picture of how calculus can be used as a good tool in applied problems. I made extensive use of online homework through WeBWorK, Excel, and online computation tools like WolframAlpha to emphasize the importance of explaining the mathematics and putting the mathematics in context rather than just doing it, so that students can see the usefulness of Calculus in their future careers. The OIT FFP has also allowed me to develop assessments for active student learning in the form of group exams that was received positively by all students.