This text was written as a prequel to the APEXCalculus series, a three–volume series on Calculus. This text is not intended to fully prepare students with all of the mathematical knowledge they need to tackle Calculus, rather it is designed to review mathematical concepts that are often stumbling blocks in the Calculus sequence. It starts basic and builds to more complex topics. This text is written so that each section and topic largely stands on its own, making it a good resource for students in Calculus who are struggling with the supporting mathemathics found in Calculus courses. The topics were chosen based on experience; several instructors in the Applied Mathemathics Department at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) compiled a list of topics that Calculus students commonly struggle with, giving the focus of this text. This allows for a more focused approach; at first glance one of the obvious differences from a standard Pre-Calculus text is its size.
Precalculus: An Investigation of Functions is a free, open textbook covering a two-quarter pre-calculus sequence including trigonometry. The first portion of the book is an investigation of functions, exploring the graphical behavior of, interpretation of, and solutions to problems involving linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. An emphasis is placed on modeling and interpretation, as well as the important characteristics needed in calculus. The second portion of the book introduces trigonometry. Trig is introduced through an integrated circle/triangle approach. Identities are introduced in the first chapter, and revisited throughout. Likewise, solving is introduced in the second chapter and revisited more extensively in the third chapter. As with the first part of the book, an emphasis is placed on motivating the concepts and on modeling and interpretation. In addition to the paper homework sets, algorithmetically generated online homework is available as part of a complete course shell package, which also includes a sample syllabus, teacher notes with lecture examples, sample quizzes and exams, printable classwork sheets and handouts, and chapter review problems. If you teach in Washington State, you can find the course shell in the WAMAP.org template course list. For those located elsewhere, you can access the course shell at MyOpenMath.com. A self-study version of the online course exercises is also available on MyOpenMath.com for students wanting to learn the material on their own, or who need a refresher.