I recently had a conversation with a young lady who claims to “love” math. I was very excited for the young lady. Then she proclaimed “I do not see the connection between precalculus and calculus.” I wanted to ask her to explain herself, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear her explanation. I asked myself how someone could have such affection towards math, but not see the connection between the two subjects.
Precalculus is the study of functions, their graphs, and their properties. It builds the foundation for calculus. I spend several hours each week preparing my students for calculus and higher level math courses via precalculus. Some of my former students stop by my office to thank me for preparing them for calculus. If there is no connection, what am I doing with my life!!
I am saddened that this young lady feels this way about precalculus and calculus. I wanted to interrupt her and explain the connection right then and there, but time would not allow. The most unnerving part is that she aspires to teach math and claims to be “good at it.” What?!
I hope we one day cross paths again and I can revisit this conversation so I can get a better understanding of her proclamation that there is no connection between precalculus and calculus. This statement ignited within me concern for all the students who encounter teachers with this same attitude towards math.
What are your thoughts? How do you explain the connection between precalculus and calculus?