Published on *Hope College* (http://www.hope.edu)

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.

**Links:**

[1] http://www.hope.edu/1997/09/24/pre-calc-problems-published