Precalculus Models in Physics

Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 quarters

Taught by

Allen Olson
physics, education
  • UG


Successful completion of Algebra 2 in high school, or successful completion of a college intermediate algebra course designed as a prerequisite for precalculus, or sufficient evidence of competency in the prerequisite material.

This program combines a course in precalculus with introductory physics.  In fall, we will study energy in its many forms: motion, electricity, heat, sound, light, and forms of stored energy. The physics of energy, energy transfer, and energy conservation will provide context for studying mathematical models that use linear, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions .

In winter, we will study momentum as we expand our models to two and three dimensions using trigonometric functions, rational functions, parametric curves, vectors, and polar coordinates.

Conceptual understanding and collaborative learning will be emphasized. Problems will be approached algebraically, graphically, numerically, and verbally. Laboratory exercises will involve some experimental design and will focus on developing skill in observation and analysis while reinforcing conceptual understanding.

This program is preparatory for calculus, and taking the 4-credit course Physics: Oscillationsin the spring after this program provides the equivalent of a standard, algebra-based, first-year physics sequence.

Program Details

Fields of Study

education mathematics physics

Preparatory For

medicine, education, mathematics, and further studies in STEM fields.


Fall Open Winter Open

Location and Schedule

Final Schedule and Room Assignment

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

 6-9:30p Tue/Thu

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online