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Basic Algebra Concepts

Course Description
MA 040. Basic Algebra Concepts. 1 hour credit. Prerequisite: Predetermined Asset score or MA 020 with a C or better. This course will enable the student to use basic algebra concepts including signed numbers, equation solving , word problems, exponents, roots, and polynomials.

Course Relevance
The principles learned in this course allow a student to use math skills in real life application problems and prepare for higher level math classes.

Required Materials
Howett, J. (2003). Math sense : algebra and geometry. NY: New Readers Press.

Learning Outcomes
The intent is for a student to be able to
1. Demonstrate competence in the use of signed numbers, equation solving, word problem solving, the use and manipulation of exponents and roots, and polynomials.

Primary Learning PACT Skills that will be DEVELOPED and/or documented in this course
Through the student’s involvement in this course, he/she will develop his/her ability in the following primary PACT skill areas:

1. Problem Solving
• Through application problems, the student will identify and define problems, gather information and determine its relevancy, develop workable solutions, select and communicate the best solution.

Secondary skills (developed but not documented):
 Critical Thinking
 Reading
 Self-Concept
 Time Management
 Internet Use

Major Summative Assessment Task(s)
These learning outcomes and the primary Learning PACT skills will be demonstrated by:

1. Completion of a project involving the use of signed numbers, equation solving, word problems, exponents, roots, and polynomials

Course Content
I. Themes - Key recurring concepts that run throughout this course:
 A. Problem Solving – use of multiple routes to reach a correct answer
 B. Value of math – personal perceptions and others’ perceptions
 C. Planning
II. Issues - Key areas of conflict that must be understood to achieve the intended outcome:
 A. Use of calculators
 B. Relevance of algebra
 C. Variability of order of methods used to come to correct answer
III. Concepts - Key concepts that must be understood to address the issues :
 A. Math as a “language”
 B. Properties that govern math usage
IV. Skills/Competencies - Actions that are essential to achieve the course outcomes:
 A. Concept of positive and negative numbers
 B. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing signed numbers
 C. Using more than one operation to find and answer
 D. Variables
 E. Evaluating algebraic expressions
 F. Solving equations with one and two inverse operations
 G. Combining like variables
 H. Combining variables to solve equations
 I. Solving equations with variables on both sides
 J. Solving literal equations
 K. Using formulas to solve problems
 L. Writing equations to solve word problems
 M. Ratios and proportions including multi-step problems
 N. Factors, exponents, square roots , terms
 O. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing monomials
 P. Adding polynomials together
 Q. Finding factors in terms with variables
 R. Multiplying the sum and difference of two numbers

Learning Units
I. Signed numbers
II. Solving equations
III. Word problems in algebra
IV. Exponents, roots and polynomials

Learning Activities

Independent learning activities are assigned to be completed to help students achieve the intended course outcome. Student-instructor interaction, text materials, computerized instruction and web resources may also contribute to the learning process.

Grade Determination
Grade determination is based on attendance and completion of all assignments and assessment tasks.

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