[Book Cover]

Prealgebra, 1/e

Jamie Blair, Orange Coast Community College, California
John Tobey, North Shore Community College, Massachuset
Jeffrey Slater, North Shore Community College, Massachuset

Published March, 1999 by Prentice Hall Engineering/Science/Mathematics

Copyright 1999, 704 pp.
ISBN 0-13-260936-3

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    Prealgebra (Basic Math with very Early Algebra)-Mathematics


For courses in Prealgebra or basic math when instructors would like to introduce algebra earlier. This text is designed to help a variety of students bridge the gap between arithmetic and algebra. Blair, Tobey, and Slater use an innovative, integrated arithmetic/algebra approach that develops algebraic skills using “small steps,” spirals topics throughout, emphasizes that algebra rules are just an extension of arithmetic, and teaches students the specific study skills necessary to accommodate their individual learning styles — including skills for “translating” the language of mathematics into plain English.


A Mathematics Blueprint for Problem Solving.

  • Helps students determine where to begin the problem-solving process, and plan subsequent problem solving steps. Ex. Pg. 345
Equations—Introduces equations—and a method for solving them—early, in the presentation on addition; then uses the same approach in the sections on subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Shows students how to translate mathematical equations to English phrases (questions) and then to use arithmetic facts to answer those questions. Ex. Pg. 481
An emphasis on study skills learning activities.
  • Addresses different learning styles and modes of learning and systematically develops and reinforces specific strategies and techniques—starting in Ch. 1. Ex. Pg. 236
Integration of algebra concepts and rules with those of arithmetic—Views algebra not as an abstract topic with a new set of rules, but as a natural extension of arithmetic, e.g., rules for adding decimal numbers (2.3 + 6.6) and decimal variables (2.3x + 6.9x) are taught simultaneously.
  • Enables students to see and understand that the rules of algebra are an extension of arithmetic. Ex. Pg. 432-433
Spiral Approach—Introduces basic algebraic concepts using whole numbers—then re-introduces them with signed numbers, then decimals, and finally fractions.
  • Students can initially focus on the basic concept using a familiar set of whole numbers. Reinforcement and review of concepts allow students to build up to more complex applications.
Emphasis on “understanding” mathematics—Explains why—instead of an emphasis on rules, algorithms, and formulas. Incorporates examples and patterns to motivate concepts. Includes methods and algorithms which prepare for algebraic operations.
  • Provides students with a conceptual understanding of how numbers work—beforeteaching them algorithms.
The same successful pedagogy as other Tobey/Slater math textsDeveloping Your Study Skills; Extra Practice—Examples and Exercises; To Think About; Chapter Organizers; Practice Quizzes; Pretests.
  • Provides students with a variety of opportunities for practice and review. Ex. Pg. 411-419
Patient writing style and tone.
  • Carefully addresses students who have math anxiety; those who've struggled with previous arithmetic courses; who learn at a slower pace; who haven't studied math in years; who still feel uncomfortable with math concepts; and those struggling in elementary algebra. Ex. Pg. 276-277
Real-life examples help students understand what they are learning and why they are learning it. Blair/Tobey/Slater asked students “What would you like to learn more about with your math skill?” “Putting your skills to work” boxes are the result of this student input. Ex. Pg. 107

Table of Contents
    1. Addition and Subtraction of Whole Number Expressions.
    2. Multiplication and division of Whole Number Expressions.
    3. Signed Numbers.
    4. Fractions, Ratio and Proportion.
    5. Operations on Fractional Expressions.
    6. Equations and Polynomials.
    7. Decimals and Percents.
    8. Graphing and Statistics.
    9. Measurement and Geometric Figures.


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