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G Block // Room 210 // 2017-2018

Zach Blickensderfer

Welcome to Pre-Calc 15!

Precalculus 15 is designed to bridge the mathematical leap from algebraic concepts to the
beginning concepts of Calculus. This course will review concepts from Algebra II that are central
to establishing a strong foundation for students in AP Calculus. These topics focus on the study
of functions: polynomial, trigonometric, logarithmic, and exponential. In addition, the class will
explore several discrete topics, such as: polar coordinates, vectors, conic sections, and (time
permitting) sequences and series, the Binomial Theorem, and matrices.

My Philosophy
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." -Lao Tzu
Math is about learning, not performing! In this class, I want you to make mistakes: nothing builds
stronger learning and development than getting something wrong over and over again. Believe
in yourself: with determination, discipline, and a growth mindset, you will become a stronger
mathematician and better human being.

Textbook: ​We will be using ​Precalculus With Limits​ by Larson et. al. We will be referencing its
chapters, and homework problems will be selected from it. There are copies of the book in the
library, and I have posted PDFs on Haiku.
iPad: ​I will distribute materials in class via Haiku, so you must have your iPad with you. If you
choose to use yours to write, please do so legibly. I recommend purchasing a ​stylus​: I use one
so you can read my work; you should use one so we can read your work!
Pens and pencils:​ duh.
Graphing calculator​: the graphing part is a must. I’d recommend a TI-84.
Notes from all previous classes: ​You may document each class as you like (notability files or
a physical notebook). You must bring your notes to every class, so we can reference previous

Haiku:​ Check it every night, for that is where I will post the homework.
Collaboration:​ I strongly encourage you to work together. Sharing knowledge will enhance your
comprehension, finesse your communication, and bolster your synergism. ​However:​ you may
not copy solutions from someone else’s work; that is plagiarism, which North Shore will not
tolerate. Discuss problems together; write up solutions solo.
Late work:​ Look, sometimes things get crazy--I get that. If you miss one homework, it’s not the
end of the world. Just bring it to me the next day during CWP. However, if you’re late on more
than one homework per semester, you’ll lose points.
G Block // Room 210 // 2017-2018
Zach Blickensderfer

At the beginning of every class, ​I will walk around and check your homework every night. I will
be looking at how clear and complete your homework is as well as the effort you have put forth
on the assignment. Homework will count for ≈10% of your grade.
Take pride in what you show me:​ Lack of neatness can affect your homework grade
adversely. Set your work up logically and legibly – skip a space between problems.
Show me all of your work:​ Homework should be the arena in which you practice what you’ve
learned. Do homework without fear of errors: this is the time to get things wrong (and that is how
humans learn best!). Methods – the processes leading you up to the answers – are more
important than the answers themselves. I am less concerned with your final answer than I am in
how you arrived at it. Therefore, you must show all necessary work.
Check your work: ​It is your responsibility to check to see where you made your errors on the
homework. Come to class with questions; I will always answer them.

Quizzes and Tests

Quizzes:​ Quizzes will typically be administered when we have covered around half of the
material in the chapter. They will be based upon material you have studied and practiced in your
homework each night. Quizzes will count for ≈40% of your grade.
Tests: ​Each test will cover the material presented in the sections we are studying. However,
because mathematics is empirical, it will be important for you to review pertinent information
from previous chapters. The tests will be designed to take 50 to 60 minutes to complete them.
All tests will be pencil and paper. Tests will count for ≈50% of your grade.

Getting Help
CWP: ​Find me in my office, US 009. If I’m not there, check across the hall in US 015.
Other Availability: ​I have many free blocks this year (A, B, C, and E), so we can likely meet
during yours. Chat with me after class or via email, and we’ll find a time!
Email: ​Please email me! I’m happy to respond to your questions or set up an extra help
session. However, please know that I will not respond to email after ≈10:00pm (sleep, yo).

Academic Integrity
I expect you to be familiar and comply with all rules and procedures regarding the School's
policy on academic integrity as outlined on pps. 36-38 in the ​Upper School Handbook​.
17-18 Unit Plan for Pre-Calc 15
Zach Blickensderfer

Chapter 1 ​(10 Classes, 1-10)

1.1 Lines in the Plane
1.2 Functions
1.3 Graphs of Functions
1.4 Shifting, Reflecting, and Stretching Graphs
1.5 Combination of Functions
1.6 Inverse Functions

Chapter 2 ​(10 Classes, 11-20)

2.1 Quadratic Functions
2.2 Polynomial Functions of Higher Degree
2.3 Real Zeros of Polynomial Functions
2.4 Complex Numbers
2.5 The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
2.6 Rational Functions and Asymptotes
2.7 Graphs of Rational Functions

Chapter 3 ​(8 Classes, 21-28)

3.1 Exponential Functions and Their Graphs
3.2 Logarithmic Functions and Their Graphs
3.3 Properties of Logarithms
3.4 Solving Exponential and Logarithmic Equations
3.5 Exponential and Logarithmic Models

Chapter 4 ​(17 Classes, 29-45)

4.1 Radian and Degree Measure
4.2 Trigonometric Functions: The Unit Circle
4.3 Right Triangle Trigonometry
4.4 Trigonometric Functions of Any Angle
4.5 Graphs of Sine and Cosine Functions
4.6 Graphs of Other Trigonometric Functions
4.7 Inverse Trigonometric Functions
4.8 Applications and Models
Chapter 5: Analytical Trigonometry ​(10 Classes, 46-55)
5.1 Using Fundamental Identities
5.2 Verifying Trigonometric Identities
5.3 Solving Trigonometric Equations
5.4 Sum and Difference Formulas
5.5 Multiple-Angle and Product-to-Sum Formulas

Chapter 6: Additional Topics in Trig ​(5 Classes, 56-60)

6.1 Law of Sines
6.2 Law of Cosines
6.3 Vectors in the Plane

Chapter 7: Linear Systems and Matrices ​(11 Classes, 61-71)

7.1 Solving Systems of Equations
7.2 Systems of Linear Equations in Two Variables
7.3 Multivariable Linear Systems
7.4 Matrices and Systems of Equations
7.5 Operations with Matrices
7.6 The Inverse of a Square Matrix
7.7 The Determinant of a Square Matrix
7.8 Applications of Matrices and Determinants

Chapter 9: Topics in Analytic Geometry ​(11 Classes, 72-82)

9.1 Circles and Parabolas
9.2 Ellipses
9.3 Hyperbolas
9.5 Parametric Equations
9.6 Polar Coordinates
9.7 Graphs of Polar Equations

Final Exam Review ​(4 Classes, 83-86)