posted September 24, 1997

Pre-Calc Problems Published

 A Hope College-based effort to develop a new way of pre-calculus instruction has produced a book of problems that can be used at high schools and colleges both.

          "Projects for Precalculus" was published earlier
  this year by Saunders College Publishing.  The authors are
  Janet Andersen, associate professor of mathematics and
  coordinator of general education at Hope; Todd Swanson,
  adjunct assistant professor of mathematics at Hope; and
  Robert Keeley, associate professor of education at Calvin
  College and former mathematics teacher at Holland Christian
  High School.
          Each of the 26, multi-question problem sets
  contained in the book features a different real-life
  situation.  Examples include calculating the flight plan of
  an airplane flying in a cross wind; comparing the difficulty
  of kicking a field goal in the NFL, CFL and NCAA; and the
  chance of a garage door remote control accidentally opening
  someone else's garage.
          Many of the projects encourage students to write
  and thus have a variety of correct answers.  The three
  authors recommend evaluating work not only on the solution
  reached, but also on the student's reasoning, justification
  and communication skills.  To place the emphasis on how to
  approach the problems, "Projects for Precalculus" also
  encourages allowing the students to use calculators to
  handle the computations involved and graph the results.
          The effort to craft the problem sets began in the
  summer of 1994, with support from a $150,000 grant from the
  National Science Foundation.  The initial problems were
  piloted at a number of high schools and colleges, and
  refined accordingly.  The project received third place
  recognition in the first, nationwide INPUT (Innovative
  Programs Using Technology) competition in 1996.
          "Projects for Precalculus" includes both an
  instructor's version, with an answer key, that was written
  to supplement any pre-calculus text, and a student version
  that was redesigned to accompany "Contemporary Pre-Calculus:
  A Graphing Approach, 2nd Edition," written by Thomas W.
  Hungerford and also released by Saunders College Publishing.