Course Content and Outcome Guide for MTH 92 Effective Fall 2015

Course Number:
MTH 92
Course Title:
Intermediate Algebra Part II
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores functions graphically and symbolically with an emphasis on function notation. Investigates functions, equations and graphs involving quadratic, rational, and radical expressions. Integrates technology throughout. Graphing calculator required. TI-89 Titanium or Casio Classpad 330 recommended. Must take both MTH 91 and MTH 92 to satisfy MTH 95 requirements. Prerequisites: MTH 91 and placement into WR 115. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

1. Use quadratic, rational and radical models in academic and nnon-academic environments.
2. Recognize connections between graphical and algebraic representations in academic and non-academic settings.
3. Interpret graphs in academic and non-academic contexts.
4. Be prepared in future coursework that requires the use of algebraic concepts and an understanding of functions.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment shall include:

  1. The following topics must be assessed in a closed-book, no-note, no-calculator setting:,
    1. finding the equation of the linear function given two ordered pairs stated using function notation
    2. solving rational equations
    3. solving radical equations
    4. determining the domain of rational and radical functions
    5. evaluating algebraic expressions that include function notation
  2. At least two proctored closed-book, no-note examinations, one of which is the comprehensive final. These exams must consist primarily of free response questions although a limited number of multiple choice and/or fill in the blank questions may be used where appropriate.
  3. Assessment must include evaluation of the student€™s ability to arrive at correct and appropriate conclusions using proper mathematical procedures and proper mathematical notation. Additionally, each student must be assessed on their ability to use appropriate organizational strategies and their ability to write conclusions appropriate to the problem.
  4. At least two of the following additional measures:,
    1. graded homework
    2. quizzes
    3. group projects
    4. individual projects
    5. in-class activities
  5. Optional additional measures may include:,
    1. attendance
    2. portfolios
    3. individual student conferences
    4. in-class participation   

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  1. Functions and function notation
  2. Functions represented as graphs, tables, equations and in words
  3. Connection between symbolic and graphical representations
  4. Algebraic simplification of expressions and solving of equations
  5. Problem solving and modeling, interpreting results in practical terms
  6. Language of graphs


  1. Calculator (integrated throughout the course),
    1. Use the home screen carry out arithmetic operations
    2. Use the calculator's table feature to explore functions
    3. Graph functions,
      1. Input the appropriate window settings to view the graph
      2. Use calculation tools,
        1. Minimum
        2. Maximum
        3. Understand that the calculator has limitations
  2. Functions
    Note: The themes below are continued from MTH 91 in the context of the new functions covered in MTH 92. A complete review of functions should not be necessary.,
    1. Domain,
      1. Understand the definition of domain (the set of all possible inputs)
      2. Determine the domain of functions represented graphically, algebraically, numerically and verbally
      3. Represent the domain in both interval and set notation, where appropriate
      4. Apply unions and intersections (€œand€ and €œor€) when finding and stating the domain of functions
      5. Understand how the context of a function used as a model can limit the domain
    2. Range,
      1. Understand the definition of range (set of all possible outputs)
      2. Determine the range of functions represented graphically, numerically and verbally
      3. Represent the range in interval and set notation, where appropriate
    3. Function notation,
      1. Evaluate functions with given inputs using function notation where functions are represented graphically, algebraically, numerically and verbally (e.g. evaluate f( 7 ) )
      2. Interpret  f( a )=b in the appropriate context e.g. interpret  f( 3 )=5 where f models a real-world function
      3. Solve function equations where functions are represented graphically, algebraically, numerically and verbally (i.e. solve f( x )=b for x and solve f( x )=g( x ) for x where f and  g should include but not be limited to linear functions, rational functions, radical functions and quadratic functions)
      4. Solve function inequalities algebraically (i.e. f( x )>b , f( x )>g( x ) , and a<f( x )<b   where f and g are linear functions and f( x )>b and f( x )<b where f is an absolute value function)
      5. Solve function inequalities graphically (i.e. f( x )>b , f( x )>g( x ) , and a<f( x )<b where f and g should include but not be limited to linear functions, and f( x )>b for quadratic and absolute value functions)
    4. Graphs of functions,
      1. Use the language of graphs and understand how to present answers to questions based on the graph (i.e. read the x  value of an intersection to solve an equation and understand that f( 2 ) is a number not a point)
      2. Determine function values, solve equations and inequalities, and find domain and range given a graph
  3. Rational Functions (continued from MTH 91),
    1. Solve rational equations,
      1. Check solutions algebraically
    2. Solve literal rational equations for a specified variable,
      1. Introduce variables with subscripts
    3. Applications,
      1. Solve distance, rate and time problems involving rational terms using well defined variables and stating conclusions in complete sentences including appropriate units
      2. Solve problems involving work rates using well defined variables and stating conclusions in complete sentences including appropriate units
  4. Quadratics,
    1. Recognize a quadratic equation given in standard form, vertex form and factored form
    2. Solve quadratic equations by completing the square
    3. Find complex solutions to quadratic equations by the quadratic formula or by completing the square,
      1. Understand the graphical implications (i.e. when there is a complex number as a solution to a quadratic equation)
      2. Interpret the meaning in the context of an application
    4. Quadratic functions in vertex form,
      1. Graph a parabola after obtaining the vertex form of the equation by completing the square
      2. Given a quadratic function in vertex form or as a graph, observe the vertical shift and horizontal shift of the graph y= x 2
      3. Connect graphing via vertex form with the prerequisite graphing methods (i.e. axis of symmetry, horizontal intercepts, vertex formula, vertical intercept, points found by symmetry)
    5. Determine the domain and range of quadratic functions algebraically and graphically
    6. Applications,
      1. Understanding in context: given a quadratic function in algebraic or graphical form find and interpret, including units, the meaning of the:,
        1. Vertex as a maximum or minimum
        2. Vertical intercept
        3. Zeroes/horizontal intercepts/roots
        4. Inputs and outputs of functions (e.g. f( 2 ) and f( x )=5 )
      2. Clearly define variables including appropriate units
      3. State conclusions to applied problems in complete sentences including appropriate units
    7. Explore quadratic functions graphically using the graphing calculator. Convey results using function notation. Examine the following features:,
      1. Vertex
      2. Vertical intercept
      3. Horizontal intercepts
  5. Radical Functions,
    1. Understand nth roots
    2. Determine the domain of radical functions with both even and odd roots algebraically and graphically
    3. Determine the range graphically
    4. Understand radicals as expressions with rational exponents and vice versa
    5. Use rational exponents to simplify radical expressions (See addendum)
    6. Practice prerequisite skills of exponents rules in the context of rational exponents
    7. Rationalize denominators so students can recognize equivalent expressions (e.g. 1 2 = 2 2 )
    8. Solve radical equations algebraically and graphically,
      1. Verify solutions algebraically
      2. Understand that extraneous solutions found algebraically do not appear as solutions on the graph
      3. Solve literal radical equations for a specified variable
    9. Calculator,
      1. Approximate radicals as powers with rational exponents
      2. Find the domain and range of radical functions
      3. Solve radical equations graphically
      4. Use graphical solutions to check the validity of algebraic solutions



  • Functions should be studied symbolically, graphically, numerically and verbally.
  • As much as possible, instructors should present functions that model real-world problems and relationships to address the content outlined on this CCOG.
  • Function notation is emphasized and should be used whenever it is appropriate in the course.
  • Students should be required to use proper mathematical language and notation. This includes using equal signs appropriately, labeling and scaling the axes of graphs appropriately, using correct units throughout the problem solving process, conveying answers in complete sentences when appropriate, and in general, using the required symbols correctly.
  • Students should understand the fundamental differences between expressions and equations including their definitions and proper notations.
  • All mathematical work should be organized so that it is clear and obvious what techniques the student employed to find his answer. Showing scratch work in the middle of a problem is not acceptable.
  • Since technology is used throughout the course, there is a required calculator packet for students that gives directions for several graphing calculators. The students should understand the limitations of calculator€”i.e. when the calculator gives misleading information. Examples of the calculator€™s limitations include the following: when finding horizontal intercepts, the calculator sometimes gives something like y = 3E-13; the calculator rounds to 12 or fewer decimal places; some calculators appear to show vertical asymptotes on the graphs of rational functions; it appears that the graph of y= 1 x 2 touches the x axis; the calculator does not show holes on rational function graphs; the calculator cannot handle very large numbers, e.g. 10 1000 =ˆž etc.
  • Exploration of difficult rational exponents, as in 4.5, should be limited. Basic understanding is essential and a deep understanding takes more than one course to develop. Examples should be limited to one or two variables, keeping things as simple as possible while covering all possibilities. E.g.  5 x 1 2 ˆ’3 z ˆ’ 1 3 , 2 x 1 3 x 1 2 , 4 y ˆ’ 1 2 y 1 3 .
  • As much as possible, instructors should present functions that model real-world problems and relationships to address the content outlined on this CCOG.
  • In 3.3.1, when solving applications of quadratic equations, a complex solution should be interpreted as the graph never reaching a particular real world y-value.