MA 090 Course Description

MA090 BEGINNING ALGEBRA (4 Cr.)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Prerequisite: OC080 (Passed with B- or better.) or satisfactory score on the Math Placement Exam. Credit for this course does not apply toward a baccalaureate degree, but it may count toward some two-year programs at the discretion of the department offering the programs.

Offered: Fall, Winter

General Introduction

The course is designed for students who did not have a year of high school algebra or for those who did poorly in high school algebra. The fundamental operations of algebra are covered with a problem solving emphasis. The course includes graphing, linear equations, exponents and introductory probability and statistics.

General Introduction and Goals

This course was developed to help students make the transition to college level mathematics. MA090 serves three types of students: those wanting more experience with mathematics; those who need to satisfy a curriculum requirement of beginning algebra; and those with math deficiencies who want or need to take at least MA100 (Intermediate Algebra). Credit for the course is given only in some diploma and/or certificate programs. However, a student's grade does appear on the college transcript.

The main goal of the course is to help students develop thinking skills as well as algebraic skills. Emphasis is placed on conceptual development, on the "connectedness" of various mathematical topics and on problem solving. Algebraic concepts and skills are developed through practical applications; geometry, graphing and calculator usage are integrated into the course.

Manipulative materials such as geoboards are utilized to provide concrete examples of concepts whenever possible, and a variety of problem-solving strategies, including trial-and-error, are discussed and used to encourage students' creativity. Finally, students use collaborative learning on a regular basis throughout the course to explore nontrivial problems.

Course Content

  1. Integers
    • models of the operations
    • order of operations
    • introduction to graphing and interpreting graphs
    • strategies for problem solving
    • perimeter and area and other applications
    • geometric transformations
    • meaning of variable, translating from words to symbols
    • introductory polynomial work
    • informal equation solving
  2. Rational numbers
    • models of rational numbers and operations on rational numbers
    • mental arithmetic and estimation
    • polynomials with rational number coefficients
    • complex fractions
    • informal equation solving in fractional equations
    • ratios, unit rates and proportions
    • relationship among rational numbers, decimals and percents
    • application problems: similarity, size changes, discount and mark-up
    • interpreting graphs and concept of functions
  3. Probability and Statistics
    • concepts, experimental and theoretical probability
    • geometric probability
    • tree diagrams and compound events
    • beginning statistics: summarizing data through graphs
    • comparing and calculating the measures of clustering
    • box plots
  4. Linear Equations and Inequalities
    • meaning and models, including developing equations from tables and graphs
    • graphing in two variables
    • graphing systems of equations
    • formal equation solving
    • literal equations
    • use of variables in problem solving
    • solving and graphing inequalities in two variables
  5. Exponents and Radicals
    • development of rules
    • approximating and finding solutions of exponential equations
    • applications: scientific notation, population change, inflation, depreciation, simple and compound interest
    • graphs of exponential equations
    • concept of radical and the Pythagorean theorem
    • the relationship of exponents and radicals
    • irrationals and the real numbers
    • simplifying radicals
    • applications, algebraic and geometric
  6. Functions (as time allows)
    • concepts through charts, diagrams and graphs
    • linear functions and rate of change
    • slope-intercept form of linear equations
    • applications, median-median line and line of best fit
    • quadratic and exponential functions
    • applications of functional relationships: distance, rate and time; surface area and volume; amounts of interest and time