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ERIC Number: EJ915490
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Inverse Functions: What Our Teachers Didn't Tell Us
Wilson, Frank C.; Adamson, Scott; Cox, Trey; O'Bryan, Alan
Mathematics Teacher, v104 n7 p500-507 Mar 2011
The mathematical topic of inverse functions is an important element of algebra courses at the high school and college levels. The inverse function concept is best understood by students when it is presented in a familiar, real-world context. In this article, the authors discuss some misconceptions about inverse functions and suggest some strategies for teaching inverses. They show that a correct understanding of inverse functions empowers learners mathematically. By eliminating the approach of switching x and y and implementing the approach of solving for the dependent variable, teachers can reduce confusion and enhance students' conceptual understanding of inverse functions. By recognizing that the inverse of y = f(x) is x = f[superscript -1](y), learners can make sense of inverse functions in various mathematical contexts, including real-world data analysis and modeling. (Contains 7 figures and 2 tables.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A