Carl Stitz, Lakeland Community College
Jeff Zeager, Lorain County Community College
A casual glance through the Table of Contents of most of the major publishers’ College Algebra books reveals nearly isomorphic content in both order and depth. Our Table of Contents shows a different approach, one that might be labeled “Functions First.” To truly use The Rule of Four, that is, in order to discuss each new concept algebraically, graphically, numerically and verbally, it seems completely obvious to us that one would need to introduce functions first. (Take a moment and compare our ordering to the classic “equations first, then the Cartesian Plane and THEN functions” approach seen in most of the major players.) We then introduce a class of functions and discuss the equations, inequalities (with a heavy emphasis on sign diagrams) and applications which involve functions in that class.