Real-life examples are stressed in a
new precalculus text co-written by three members of the Hope
College and Calvin College faculties, part of an on-going
effort by the team to help students understand how
mathematics relates to both other disciplines and the world
around them.

"Precalculus: A Study of Functions and Their
Applications" is being published this month by Harcourt
College Publishing. The authors are Todd Swanson, adjunct
assistant professor of mathematics at Hope; Janet Andersen,
associate professor of mathematics and chair of the
department at Hope; and Robert Keeley, who is an associate
professor of education at Calvin and a former mathematics
teacher at Holland Christian High School.

Written in a conversational tone, the book is
designed so that students will read about, write about and
discuss the mathematical concepts they are exploring.
According to the authors, functions that are traditionally
presented separately in precalculus texts are instead
reviewed together to show how they are related to one
another. Similarly, projects concerning topics ranging from
crickets, to golf, to automobile acceleration provide
examples of how the concepts can be applied.

"With real-world exercises, investigations and
projects, this text provides a complete instructional
package for a contemporary precalculus course," Swanson

"Precalculus: A Study of Functions and Their
Applications" was written for use in one-semester college
courses in precalculus, but is also intended to be suitable
for year-long high school courses.

The book stems from an effort that began in the
summer of 1994, when Andersen, Keeley and Swanson began
developing sets of precalculus problems for classroom use
with support from a $150,000 grant from the National Science
Foundation. In 1997, their work led to the publication of
"Projects for Precalculus," a compilation of 26 multi-
question problem sets. "Projects for Precalculus" was an
award winner in the Innovative Programs Using Technology
competition in 1997, and was featured in the book "Exemplary
Programs in Introductory College Mathematics," published by
the Mathematics Association of America in 1998. Several of
the projects are featured in the new text.