Precalculus

William Mueller (see Wmueller.com below) describes precalculus as the bridge between the math you know, such as arithmetic and algebra, and a wondrous, fertile land ahead: calculus. In order to cross the bridge, you need a good understanding of how functions describe the relationship between two variable quantities.

• Mathematics Help Central: Precalculus Trigonometry4 stars

Holly Camp was a twenty-five-year-old divorced mom with two kids under the age of four when she enrolled in college. Although she was intimidated by her first algebra class, when she aced the first test, she took that as a sign that her mission was to help others who might be in a similar predicament. Visit for her trigonometry class notes and printable graph paper, but don't leave without reading her inspiring story.

• The Math Page: Topics in Precalculus5 stars

"When one thing depends on another, as, for example, the area of a circle depends on the radius, or the temperature on the mountain depends on the height, then we say that the first is a â€˜function' of the other." Lawrence Spector, a math teacher at Borough of Manhattan Community College, introduces precalculus with twenty-five topics including logarithms, polynomials of the second degree, irrational numbers and mathematical induction. If you return to the homepage, you'll find another twenty-one trigonometry topics, along with lessons for algebra, plane geometry and calculus.

• MathWorld: Pre-Calculus5 stars

MathWorld is an extensive math encyclopedia, "created, developed and nurtured by Eric Weisstein with contributions from the world's math community." The precalculus section covers complex numbers, conic sections, exponents, logarithms, functions, and vectors. The table of contents doubles as a glossary of more than thirty-five precalculus terms. Simply click on any of the terms to view a more detailed definition, along with links to related lesson, explanations, and animated illustrations.

• Visual Calculus: Precalculus5 stars

Originally designed to demonstrate how technology can be used in the calculus classroom, this University of Tennessee site has been grown to include student tutorials, practice problems, quizzes, instructions on using TI-85 and TI-86 graphing calculator, and LiveMath animations. LiveMath is a free browser plugin that allows you to interact with animated graphs. Be sure to take the time to download it. Subjects covered in the precalculus section of Visual Calculus include functions, polynomials, trigonometric functions, exponential functions, solving equations and graphing.

• Wmueller: Exploring Precalculus5 stars

"Calculus is the lingua franca of mathematics, engineering, and all of the sciences. You want to speak it well, with genuine understanding. You want to carry out calculations involving realistic problems with confidence. You want to savor calculus, and appreciate all of the truly beautiful things that it reveals about the world around you. Prepare yourself to enjoy it." With a unique and playful style, William Mueller has created my pick-of-the-day precalculus site. Highlights include The Number e, and Am I Ready for Calculus?

• By . Originally written on Nov 21, 2007. Last Modified on Feb 16, 2009.

• Honorable Mentions

The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!

• UCD Math: Precalculus Problems and Solutions

•  Pre-calculus Demystified 2/E by Rhonda Huettenmueller (Paperback) - Usually ships in 24 hours Price: \$11.26
 Precalculus: Mathematics for Calculus by James Stewart, Lothar Redlin, Saleem Watson (Hardcover) - Usually ships in 24 hours Price: \$114.00
 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Precalculus by W. Michael Kelley (Paperback) - Usually ships in 24 hours Price: \$8.00