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# Introduction to Algebra Concepts and Skills

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
MAT 023 and 024 are designed to provide the basic skills necessary to succeed in universitylevel
mathematics and mathematics dependent courses. MAT 024- Introduction to Algebra
Concepts and Skills, Part 2
includes the following: Elementary study of linear and quadratic
functions; integer and rational exponents and radicals; solution of equations and inequalities.
These topics extend and build upon topics covered in MAT 023 or MAT 021. Emphasis is on
conceptual understanding and problem solving in applications in context. Graphical, numerical
and algebraic approaches are used throughout. Elementary geometric and numerical concepts
and skills are used both as problem solving tools and as a source of problems.

COURSE OVERVIEW:
MAT 024, the second semester of non-credit preparation for mathematics at the university level,
is intended to reinforce students’ number sense and understanding of arithmetic operations, and
further develop foundation mathematics skills including elementary algebra skills and concepts,
problem solving, reasoning, and communication in mathematics. The course provides
opportunities for students to see mathematical models of real world situations and to connect
mathematics with other disciplines as they develop their foundation skills.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
Students will be able to:
• Construct graphs and numerical tables for given linear and quadratic functions; write the
equation of a linear function given its graph or a numerical table;
• Solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable, systems of linear equations in two
• Use the concepts of slope and y-intercept of a linear function to analyze the function and
interpret it in a problem situation;
• Evaluate numerical radical expressions and rewrite them, where appropriate, with rational
exponents; simplify algebraic expressions with rational exponents; solve equations involving
• Use Pythagoras’ theorem to solve appropriate problems;
• Demonstrate conceptual understanding of numbers (integers, fractions, decimals, scientific
notation, percents) in problem solving and in graphing;
• Interpret and communicate the results of elementary algebraic analysis of a situation;
• Use technology, when appropriate, to analyze graphs, data, and algebraic expressions;
• Demonstrate maintenance of skills listed as objectives in MAT 023.

TEACHING AND LEARNING METHODS:
The student must be responsible for her/his own learning. The instructor’s role is to provide the
student with contexts and opportunities that facilitate the learning process. During class, students
will be actively engaged in mathematical activity carefully designed to build conceptual
development. Students will work collaboratively in small groups on most of the activities. We will
have classroom discussions when appropriate for sharing findings and summarizing important
outcomes. Many of the activities will require the use of a graphing calculator. Each student
should bring a graphing calculator to every class meeting.

To assure the acquisition of basic skills, we will administer ‘gateway quizzes’ in a laboratory
setting. Students are required to pass these quizzes, but they are permitted multiple tries, with
variations in the problems.

To assure development of problem solving skills and understanding of the mathematical concepts
in the course, we will provide ‘mini-projects’, investigations in real world context to help students
establish connections and construct meaning.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES:
Students are required to attend class regularly and on time, participate actively in an assigned
small group and participate in class discussion. Note that this attendance and participation are
required to earn a passing grade in this course. Quizzes and examinations are required. There
will be assignments collected periodically. No late assignments or make-up examinations will be
accepted without an acceptable (usually medical) excuse. All examinations are cumulative.

REQUIRED:
Elementary Algebra: A Prerequisite for Functions, by Abney, Mowers, Calland, and Crowley with additional
material fpr Math Skills Program at the University of the Virgin Islands by Dance and Sandefur (Pearson
Custom Publishing, 2005)
Graphing Calculator (recommended: TI-84 Plus)
Looseleaf notebook
Journal book (small notebook, not looseleaf)
ruler
graph paper

EVALUATION OF STUDENT’S ACHIEVEMENT:
The student will receive a passing grade if the requirements of one of Assessment Methods I, II, or III are
fully satisfied. Note that regular attendance is required for both options I and II. If the student has
demonstrated via testing a need for the Math Skills Program, then the student must be in attendance for a
passing grade to be awarded. Students who find they are unable to attend are counseled to withdraw from
the course.

 Assessment Method I Minimum requirement 1. In-class Quizzes, Homework 60% average with all journals submitted 2. Gateway Quizzes 90%. (Multiple tries) 3. In-class mini-projects 90% participation; 75% average score 4. Examinations 65% average, with a minimum of 60 on the Final Examination 5. Attendance No more than 5 absences, for any reason Assessment Method II Minimum requirement 1. Final Examination 70% on final exam 2. Attendance No more than 7 absences, for any reason Assessment Method III Minimum requirement Final Examination 80% on final exam