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Homework Help: Help with High school courses

  1. Sep 13, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    My son is a sophomore in High school and his counselor has him in a Pre-Calc. class and then a Trig. class. is this normal. Does he need both and in the same year? thanks.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2009 #2
    Well, having that in Pre-calculus you cover trigonometric stuff I would say that both together is not really required but can help. I myself wouldn't have minded having trigonometry in my high school because I really love mathematics and like challenging myself. I took all the math courses offered at my high school.

    But this is a biased view so wait for more responses.
  4. Sep 13, 2009 #3
    thanks Jonathan. I know nothing about trig or calc. I am just his mom. lol. but he tells me that he has Trig. in the morning and then Pre-calc later that day. He also tells me it's confusing because both teachers teach differently and he's not sure which way to do equations. Also, his teachers are confused, which isn't helping matters, they spend most of the day showing an equation and then erase it and say "oh, that's not right , disregard that , let's start again". Is this normal?
  5. Sep 13, 2009 #4
    I know what you mean. When i was taught a certain way to do something I got used to doing it that way. However, later that year we had some kind of "tutoring" session to prepare for the TAKS test (state wide issued test in Texas) and that teacher kept telling me "No that is incorrect" when I would have the correct solution and answer. To show that teacher that my way of doing things did if fact work, I got a perfect score in the TAKS test and now he's more open to new ways. (Not to brag) =)

    But the way you say that the teacher shows a proof to a formula and then says it was wrong is completely not correct. I would suggest having a talk to the principles or something to have this corrected because in this situation the only thing happening is your son and everybody else in the class is being hurt by being taught the incorrect stuff. One student may pick up the "wrong" way of doing it and keep using that way rather than the correct way.
  6. Sep 13, 2009 #5


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    The situation is not normal. Pre-Calculus is a year course and includes some Trigonometry, generally nearly a full course of it. Trigonometry is a semester course (maybe some schools make it a year course?). A student being placed in both Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry courses during the same term is an overload in Mathematics, unless that student has an otherwise very light load of other courses, like maybe he only is enrolled in 4 courses maximum; but even this is unlikely.
    The mistakes which some teachers seem to be making may be the result of a few logical situations: not enough time to develop their whole lesson plan; school's recent switch to a different book or set of instructional materials; a teacher recently assigned to teach the course because of "Mathematics" listed as one of his subject authorizations in contrast to his actual knowledge & skill & comfort with the particular course he is trying to teach - he might normally be a science of computer sci teacher but the school system could not find adequate numbers of people to teach the particular course but needs to fill the assignment with somebody.
    WHY is this student in BOTH Pre-Calculus AND Trigonometry in the same semester?
  7. Sep 13, 2009 #6
    Personally I have never taken Trigonometry. I took Pre-Calculus in high school and went from there onto Calculus, Differential Equations, etc. Anyhow, based on my experience Pre-Calculus had enough Trigonometry in it to get me through the other courses. As another person mentioned, taking both eventually would probably give your son a better grasp of mathematics as a hole and wouldn't hurt him in the end.
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