Pre-calculus is a foundational course in mathematics that encompasses both advanced algebra and basic trigonometry. Topics covered in pre-calculus include trigonometric functions, logarithms, exponents, matrices and sequences. These fundamental skills are broadly applicable to a number of real-life scenarios and can help students understand the relevance and value of the content they are learning. Here are some examples.

Visit an electronics website, and find the price of your favorite video game console. Use rational functions to determine the percentage that the the console would need to be "on sale" for you to be able to buy it for $100.

Television sizes are typically measured from diagonal corners of the screen. Imagine that you own a television cabinet which is 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall. If you purchase a "42-inch" television that stands 24 inches tall, use trigonometry to determine if it will fit in your existing television cabinet.

Count the number of pants and shirts you own. Use Pascal's triangle and the binomial theorem to determine how many days you can go without wearing the same outfit twice. If you take into account the number of pairs of shoes you own, how is your outfit count affected?

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About the Author

Michael Cohen has been a technical writer since 2006. His areas of expertise include classical music and nonprofit management, and his work has been featured across a variety of media platforms. Cohen received his bachelor's degree from The New School in New York City.