recommendations for calculus textbook

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GTB4GT, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Aug 28, 2011
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    Aug 7, 2013

    please. I am teaching precalculus this year and the textbook to me looks like a repeat of topics from algebra 2 and trig. I would like to get into integrals and derivatives with my class. First time our school has offered this course.

    I would like some references for a good HS calculus textbook that I can use as a guide and reference for my teaching. I don't have to teach from the book per se but I have found that a good textbook follows a very logical sequence for introducing material.

    thanks for any suggestions.
  3. ajr

    ajr Rookie

    Feb 13, 2013
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    Aug 7, 2013

    From the "This Isn't What I Asked For" department, I suggest:

    Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions, by Larson/Edwards

    Calculus, by Stewart

    Personally, I like the Larson/Edwards book more. These are both weighty tomes, capable of doing tremendous damage to people and objects alike when placed on a ballistic trajectory. They both cover all of single and multivariate calculus on elementary functions. They are two of the most popular books to use in undergrad calculus, at least in the USA, and students are very likely to see one or the other if they go on to college. Most math folks I know keep one for reference, over any other books.

    Larson/Edwards has a great number of fully worked examples, and a good discussion of each particular topic. However, it does assume absolute mastery of algebra and trigonometry. If you are guiding the class this won't be an issue, but can be intimidating for a student who is assigned the book. In my opinion, the layout is spectacular, as it tends to jump from pure theory to application and back again as it moves through topics. A student who wants more application and less theory (or vice versa) can certainly pick and choose what sections to focus on.

    And a suggestion completely out of left field:

    If the books are primarily to guide you, rather than for direct use by students, consider buying Spivak's Calculus in addition (not as replacement) to another book:

    Since it's more commonly used as an analysis textbook rather than an undergrad calculus text, it's not at all appropriate for highschool students. However, a brief review of the subject in Spivak is a great reminder of why things are the way they are in calculus, rather than just what they are. I find that, in trying to explain a topic in calculus, the standard calculus reference texts just don't remind me of enough detail, and a trip through Spivak is what's needed.
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Nov 5, 2007
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    Aug 7, 2013

    I would not recommend jumping straight into calculus at with only an algebra 2 and trig background. Unless your algebra 2 course spends a hefty amount of time on theory, vectors, matrices, polar coordinates, parametric equations, conic sections, logs, and goes more into depth on regular algebra topics than the standard algebra 2 class, then you're doing your students a disservice by skipping straight into calculus.
  5. Catcherman22

    Catcherman22 Companion

    Feb 20, 2007
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    Aug 9, 2013

    If you're teaching Pre Calc.. you don't want to get into derivatives and integrals. Limits maybe at the end.

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