Elementary Functions



         The concepts of calculus created modern science and revolutionized the world!  Calculus is fundamental to modern science and it, in turn, is founded on a solid understanding of elementary functions

         “Elementary” functions are the functions which occur in most of calculus and basic math applications.  They include polynomial functions, rational functions, trigonometric functions, exponential functions and their inverse functions, including the inverse trig functions and logarithms, along with functions created by composing a sequence of elementary functions.  Almost every function appearing in scientific or economic applications is an elementary function.

        In this course we will focus on understanding these functions and successfully manipulating them (with the appropriate algebra techniques) in preparation for a successful transition into calculus.


A Precalculus Course

(MATH 1410 at Sam Houston)

taught by Dr. Ken W. Smith


Main topics

  1. 1. Functions

  2. 2. Polynomials

  3. 3. Exponential Fns & Logs

  4. 4. Trigonometry

  5. 5. Advanced Trig

This 4-credit class consists of 35-40 lectures taught across a 15 week semester at Sam Houston. Extensive notes, slides and worksheets supporting this course are available here.






  1. How To Learn Math (podcast on learning mathematics)

  2.   Forty lectures in precalculus (40 links all on one page)

  3.   Return to Ken’s Homepage