Pre Calculus Resources

For whatever reason, people put up with lousy versions of the unit circle and polar grid. I decided to fix that and now you can benefit from my obsession. These will pop off the page.

High-Res Unit Circle
Another High-Res Unit Circle
High-Res Polar Grid
High-Res Trig Graph Paper

This material represents items I've used in Pre-Cal for the last three years. I am always tweaking my approach but hopefully this will offer you a starting point.

Fall 2012 Assessments
Spring 2013 Assessments
Fall 2013 Assessments
Spring 2014 Assessments
Fall 2014 Assessments
Spring 2015 Assessments
Fall 2015 Assessments
Spring 2016 Assessments 
2016-17 Assessments
Independent Practice

In-Depth Units

Recently I did a series of posts describing seven major units and how I move through them.

How do you...

Composite Functions
Rational Functions
Trigonometric Graphs
Polar Coordinates
Trigonometric Equations

Documented Activities

Anything that pertains to Pre-Cal I've tried to tag appropriately, but these are some of my favorites.

Trig Design: Students come up with a series of sin and cos graphs that match given requirements.

Rational Function Design: Students come up with a rational function that demonstrates certain behaviors.

Piecewise Graphing: Students come up with a piecewise function that meets given requirements.

Inverse Trig War: Like traditional war, but the value of the cards is determined by the solution to a trig equation.

Radial Speed: Challenge student to spin a handle at 1mph and see who comes closest.

Rational Functions: Building some foundations for Calculus by exploring asymptotes and removable discontinuities.

Penny Circle: The pros and cons of modeling data.

Polar Conic Sections: Building an equation for the solar system.

Polar Graph Sidewalk Chalk: A fun way to display polar graphs to the world.

3D Coordinate Systems: Students are terrible at 3D space, this aims to fix that.

Parabola Wall: A simpler version of a poster. Everyone contributes a small square.

Inverse Trig Investigation: Finding unknown angles of right triangles but requiring some intermediate information.

Right Triangle Scavenger Hunt: Searching for right triangles and then defining the six trig functions.

Class Films: I spend a week and a half making a class video for each of my sections. They vaguely center around math but by far it's what every class is proud of at the end of the year. Every year we get better at turning their random ideas into amusing short films.

Activity Framework

I love making things for display outside.


To keep things fresh, I'll break up the class work from time to time with an arts and crafts project. Usually, students are asked to represent some portion of their classwork for display outside. Initially I would introduce a new concept and have the students only practice come when completing the poster. Nowadays the poster is the concluding act. The previous day they've worked out all the kinks in the classwork and the quality of work on the poster can be higher. Alternatively, the classwork will require them to do something in their notebook and produce something for outside to increase the amount of time they spend with a concept.