Precalculus – Domain of a function

Q: What is the domain of this function?

 

Answer:

   ‘Like’ if you got it!

Explanation:

The domain of a function is a description of the x-values that may be plugged into the function. For a square root function, the restriction is that the number under the radical must not be negative. Therefore,

 

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ACT, Geometry – diagonal of a rectangular prism

Q: What is the (straight-line) distance between points A and B on the figure below?

rectangularprism2

Answer:  7

Explanation:  We are finding the length of the green segment below:

 

rectangularprism2wline

This requires the three-dimensional version of the distance formula:

  2014-09-12_225150

There is another way to do this, using a progression of two right triangles, with the green segment being the hypotenuse of the second triangle, but I find the above formula much simpler.  It is just an extension of the ‘usual’ (2-dimensional) distance formula we are so familiar with from Algebra and Geometry.

BUT if you want an even easier way, and I know you do, use my TI-84 Plus program ‘DIST3D’.

 

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Algebra 2 – exponential functions

Q: In 2010, River City had a population of 500. If the population has increased by 6% each year since then, what is the population this year, in 2014?

Answer: 631

Explanation:

Alternatively,

Calcululate 6% of 500 by doing .06 * 500 = 30.

Increase 500 by 30, and you find that the population is 530 in 2011.

Now, increase 530 by 6% (530*.06, added to 530, or shortcut is to do 530*1.06).

The population is 561.8 in 2012. Don’t round this number yet – not until you get to the end of the problem.

Doing this calculation 2 more times gives you 595.508 for 2013 and 631.23… for 2014.

Now, round to the nearest whole number: 631. It’s not the most efficient way, but you get the right answer.

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Precalculus – Probability

Q: In a group of 10 randomly chosen people, what is the probability that at least two people share the same birthday? (same month and day)

Answer: 12% 

Explanation: (For simplicity, this explanation doesn’t take into account people with leap-day birthdays, but it wouldn’t change the answer by much!)

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Precalculus – logarithms

Q: Solve the following equation involving logarithms:

Answer: x=4

Explanation:

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Algebra 2 – Sequences

Q: What is the tenth term of the sequence: 4, 12, 36, 108, …?

Answer:  78732

Explanation:  It’s a geometric sequence because each term is multiplied by 3 to get the next term. The common ratio (r) is 3. You *could* just keep multiplying by 3 until you get to the tenth term. It’s not the most efficient way, but it works.

The ‘best’ way, if you know it, is to use the formula for the nth term of a geometric sequence:

2014-09-06_202336

Oh, and my TI-84 Plus program ‘NTHTERM’ will find this answer for you.

 

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Trig / Precalculus – convert degrees to radians

Q: Convert from degrees to radians:  330°

Answer:

11piover6

Explanation:

 

expl

My TI-84 Plus program ‘DEG2RAD’ will convert this for you.

 

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Geometry – Triangles

Q: In triangle ABC below, what is sin C ?
208295_189012507810761_7502915_n
 
Answer: 4/5
Explanation:  Use the Pythagorean Theorem or the 3-4-5 Pythagorean triple to find out that the hypotenuse is 10.
Then, sin C = (opposite)/(hypotenuse) = 8/10 = 4/5.
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