[Book Cover]

Preparing for Algebra: By Building the Concepts, Preliminary Edition, 1/e

Martha Haehl, Maple Woods Community College

Published November, 1997 by Prentice Hall Engineering/Science/Mathematics

Copyright 1998, 430 pp.
ISBN 0-13-608878-3

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This text provides material for an instructor who wants to integrate the topics of arithmetic and algebra. It introduces topics with discovery, hands-on exercises that allow students to put their learning into action. Estimation skills and number sense are emphasized as students collect and analyze data that allow them to write reports. The text has a balanced approach; skills are taught with concepts, while technology is integrated with paper and pencil processes. Many of the applications involve real data, requiring students to interpret information given to them in written, chart or graph form.


Basic topics are introduced with cooperative student discovery exercises.

  • These discovery exercises provide activities and applications that allow the student see the concepts they are learning in action.
  • Coins and bills are used to introduce place value and increase understanding of arithmetic processes of whole and decimal numbers.
  • Students learn to work with slopes by first measuring physical objects. These objects provide a basis for understanding the concept behind graphing. Rather than learning to graph first, and then working on “applicaiton problems,” students begin with the application and then learn to graph by drawing a diagram of a ramp.
The use of manipulatives help students see the relevance of mathematics.
  • To study fractions as well as linear units, students make a ruler from a non-standard unit. They then put squares together to discover the area and perimeter formulas while learning about square versus linear units. These rectangles and squares are used as a means to introduce factoring. In a geometric context, they are also introduced to the concept of a variable.
Emphasis on estimation skills, number sense and “Reasonableness of answers:”
  • Students learn to estimate and to use a calculator as they practice the skills in the text.
  • Students are taught and encouraged to use visual techniques for estimation and rounding-off in arithmetic problems.
Applications use real data in applications that involve multiple tasks projects in which students collect and analyze data.
  • Students get a better understanding of how math is used outside of the classroom.
Quantitative literacy is emphasized.
  • Students see how math is relevant to the understanding of current issues.
  • Students are asked to interpret quantitative information from articles about current issues.
  • Students interpret current data given in charts and graphs.
Students learn to use scientific calculators effectively.

Table of Contents
    1. Arithmetic of Whole and Decimal Numbers, the Money Model.
    2. Signed Numbers Bean Arithmetic, Checkbook Arithmetic, and the Number Line.
    3. Linear and Square Units, Factors, Geometry.
    4. Fractions.
    5. Ratios, Proportions, Unit Conversions and Rates.
    6. Percentages.
    7. Statistical Information, Pie and Bar Charts, and Other Graphical Data.
    8. Floor Plans and Other Summary Exercises.
    Appendix I. Names of the Numbers.
    Appendix II. Math Facts--Addition and Times Tables.
    Appendix III. String Operations--the Calculator and Fractions.


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