Elementary Functions: Algebra and Trigonometry is an introductory Mathematics course preparing students for Calculus. Topics include: the real number system; inequalities; functions and their inverses; exponential and logarithmic functions; trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions; complex numbers; polynomial and rational functions and systems of equations.
The class meets four times per week for 50 minutes each class period. Classes are composed of 35 students meeting in a lecture hall. Classes are generally lecture style interspersed with interaction among students working together in small groups. Calculator use features prominently throughout the course.
The topic of the lesson, The Distance Between a Point and a Line, examines an algebraic approach and a calculator based approach to problem solving. The lesson took place in the 10th week of a 15 week term.
The class met in the early afternoon. Attendance was good and students came to class on time. There were no significant academic problems. The class atmosphere was noticeably congenial – students were friendly and comfortable with one another and the instructor.
The lesson involved significant calculator work. Students were accustomed to in-class calculator exercises and working together on their calculators.