I visited an honors pre-calculus class at Fairfax High today, so I could get a feel for some more accelerated math. It's the course Tricia Colclaser teaches when she's not teaching Algebra II.
The class is a little larger, with 30 students, and it moves fast. The students worked their way through a lesson on analyzing and graphing rational functions. Some things were familiar to a recent Algebra II student, ie. they factored lots of polynomials. But most of the lesson was over my head.
Starting with the vocabulary. The class discussed "asymptotes," which apparently come in three varieties: "horizontal," "vertical" and "oblique." They also talked about "removable discontinuity" not to be mistaken with "nonremovable discontinuity," and - my favorite - "holes."
I learned another new term called "synthetic division," and the skill itself, which is a nifty alternative to long division (aka real division???).
"Are your heads spinning?" Colclaser asked her students, as she quizzed them on the coordinates of holes and the equations of vertical and horizontal asymptotes for a particular function.
It's likely that once upon a time, I used these words in sentences to express some kind of mathematical thought. Example: "I drew my asymptote the wrong way!" or "That's a strange asymptote!" But they are lost, checked out, spending a leisurely afternoon at the beach with all the dative verbs I learned in Germany.
To test your own working knowledge or memory of these concepts (the math ones, I mean), I have obtained some homework problems that Colclaser handed out. She wanted to give her students something that was "harder" than anything they would find in the text book, she said.
Check back for the Friday Quiz. That gives you two days to brush up!
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