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Thinkwell Home-school Curriculum

Beginning Algebra

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Our complete Beginning Algebra package includes:
  • 12-month Online Subscription to our complete Beginning Algebra course with video lessons, day-by-day lesson plans, automatically graded exercises, and much more.
  • CD Set (optional) contains all of the video lessons so that you can watch them when you're away from the internet.
  • Workbook (optional) with lecture notes, sample problems, and exercises so that you can study even when away from the computer.

Beginning Algebra details

Beginning Algebra is a developmental math course at two-year colleges. The course includes factoring, equations, and functions in order to prepare the student for success in college mathematics.

For most students, our middle school math courses provide a more complete preparation for algebra. Colleges use developmental math courses for students who have completed middle school and high school math but have not qualified for college algebra.

Thinkwell's Beginning Algebra has all the features your home school needs:

  • More than 180 video lessons
  • 104 available contact hours (What is this?)
  • 37-week lesson plan with daily assignments (see lesson plan)
  • 1000+ interactive exercises with immediate feedback allow you to track your progress
    (See sample)
  • Algebra practice tests and final tests for all 10 chapters, as well as a midterm and a final
  • Printable illustrated notes for each topic
  • Interactive animations with audio
  • Real-world application examples in both lectures and exercises
  • Closed captioning for all video
  • Glossary of more than 350 mathematical terms
  • Engaging content to help students advance their mathematical knowledge:
    • Fractions and decimals
    • Exponents and scientific notation
    • Solving equations and inequalities
    • Multiplying, dividing, and factoring polynomials
    • Functions
    • Radical expressions
    • Quadratic equations
    • Systems of equations

About the Author

Professor Edward Burger

Edward Burger
Williams College

Edward Burger, Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin, having graduated summa cum laude with distinction in mathematics from Connecticut College.

He has also taught at UT-Austin and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he served as a fellow at the University of Waterloo in Canada and at Macquarie University in Australia. Prof. Burger has won many awards, including the 2001 Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching of Mathematics, the 2004 Chauvenet Prize, and the 2006 Lester R. Ford Award, all from the Mathematical Association of America. In 2006, Reader's Digest listed him in the "100 Best of America". After completing his tenure as Gaudino Scholar at Williams, he was named Lissack Professor for Social Responsibility and Personal Ethics. In 2010, he won the prestigious Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.

Prof. Burger is the author of over 50 articles, videos, and books, including the trade book Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas and the textbook The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking. He also speaks frequently to professional and public audiences, referees professional journals, and publishes articles in leading math journals, including The Journal of Number Theory and American Mathematical Monthly. His areas of specialty include number theory, Diophantine approximation, p-adic analysis, the geometry of numbers, and the theory of continued fractions.

Prof. Burger's unique sense of humor and his teaching expertise combine to make him the ideal presenter of Thinkwell's entertaining and informative video lectures.

Table of Contents

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1. Pre-Algebra Review

  • 1.1 Introduction
    • 1.1.1 Beginning Algebra
    • 1.1.2 Review of Arithmetic: Addition and Subtraction
    • 1.1.3 Review of Arithmetic: Multiplication and Division
    • 1.1.4 Top Ten List of Mistakes
  • 1.2 Factors and Fractions
    • 1.2.1 Factors and Primes
    • 1.2.2 Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiples
    • 1.2.3 Introduction to Fractions
    • 1.2.4 Multiplying Fractions
    • 1.2.5 Dividing Fractions
    • 1.2.6 Adding Fractions
    • 1.2.7 Subtracting Fractions
    • 1.2.8 Mixed Numbers
    • 1.2.9 Adding and Subtracting Mixed Numbers
    • 1.2.10 Multiplying and Dividing Mixed Numbers
  • 1.3 Decimals
    • 1.3.1 Decimal Numbers
    • 1.3.2 Multiplying and Dividing Decimals
    • 1.3.3 Percent
    • 1.3.4 Conversion between Fractions, Percents, and Decimals

2. Foundations of Algebra

  • 2.1 The Real Number System
    • 2.1.1 Real Numbers
    • 2.1.2 Ordering Real Numbers
    • 2.1.3 Arithmetic on the Number Line
    • 2.1.4 Multiplying Real Numbers
    • 2.1.5 Multiplying a Negative by a Negative: The Why
    • 2.1.6 Dividing Real Numbers
    • 2.1.7 Order of Operations
    • 2.1.8 Properties of Real Numbers
  • 2.2 Exponents, Exponential Notation, and Scientific Notation
    • 2.2.1 Introduction to Exponents
    • 2.2.2 Evaluating Exponential Expressions
    • 2.2.3 Applying the Rules of Exponents
    • 2.2.4 Evaluating Expressions with Negative Exponents
    • 2.2.5 Converting between Decimal and Scientific Notation
  • 2.3 Algebraic Expressions and the Language of Algebra
    • 2.3.1 Algebraic Expressions
    • 2.3.2 Introduction to Word Problems

3. Solving Equations

  • 3.1 Introduction to Solving Equations
    • 3.1.1 Equations
    • 3.1.2 Addition Property of Equality
    • 3.1.3 Multiplication Property of Equality
  • 3.2 Further Techniques for Solving Equations
    • 3.2.1 Solving Equations with the Variable on One Side
    • 3.2.2 Solving Equations with the Variable on Both Sides
    • 3.2.3 Equality or Identity?
    • 3.2.4 Equivalent Equations and Equations with No Solution

4. Linear Equations and Inequalities

  • 4.1 Formulas and Word Problems
    • 4.1.1 Formulas
    • 4.1.2 Formulas: Temperature Conversion and Rate
    • 4.1.3 Ratios and Proportions
    • 4.1.4 More Ratios and Proportions
    • 4.1.5 Finding a Perimeter
    • 4.1.6 Solving a Linear Geometry Problem
    • 4.1.7 Solving for Constant Velocity
    • 4.1.8 Solving a Business Problem
    • 4.1.9 Solving a Mixture Problem
    • 4.1.10 Solving an Investment Problem
    • 4.1.11 Solving for Consecutive Numbers
    • 4.1.12 Finding an Average
  • 4.2 Inequalities in One Variable
    • 4.2.1 Introduction to Inequalities
    • 4.2.2 Solving Inequalities
    • 4.2.3 Solving Word Problems with Inequalities
  • 4.3 Compound Inequalities
    • 4.3.1 Sets, Intersections, and Unions
    • 4.3.2 Solving Compound Inequalities
    • 4.3.3 More On Compound Inequalities
  • 4.4 Absolute-Value Equations
    • 4.4.1 Matching Number Lines with Absolute Value
    • 4.4.2 Solving Absolute-Value Equations
    • 4.4.3 Solving Equations with Two Absolute-Value Expressions
  • 4.5 Absolute-Value Inequalities
    • 4.5.1 Solving Absolute-Value Inequalities
    • 4.5.2 Solving Absolute-Value Inequalities: More Examples

5. Polynomials

  • 5.1 Polynomial Basics
    • 5.1.1 Determining Components and Degree
    • 5.1.2 Adding and Subtracting Polynomials
    • 5.1.3 Multiplying Polynomials
  • 5.2 Techniques for Multiplying Polynomials
    • 5.2.1 The FOIL Method
    • 5.2.2 Multiplying Big Products
    • 5.2.3 Using Special Products
  • 5.3 Techniques for Factoring
    • 5.3.1 Factoring Using the Greatest Common Factor
    • 5.3.2 Factoring by Grouping
    • 5.3.3 Factoring Trinomials Completely
    • 5.3.4 Factoring Trinomials: The Guess and Check Method
  • 5.4 Special Factoring
    • 5.4.1 Factoring Perfect-Square Trinomials
    • 5.4.2 Factoring the Difference of Two Squares
    • 5.4.3 Factoring the Sums and Differences of Cubes
    • 5.4.4 Factoring by Any Method
  • 5.5 Solving Equations by Factoring
    • 5.5.1 The Zero-Factor Property
  • 5.6 Division of Polynomials
    • 5.6.1 Using Long Division with Polynomials
    • 5.6.2 Long Division: Another Example
  • 5.7 Synthetic Division
    • 5.7.1 Using Synthetic Division with Polynomials
    • 5.7.2 More Synthetic Division
  • 5.8 The Remainder Theorem
    • 5.8.1 Using the Remainder Theorem
    • 5.8.2 More on the Remainder Theorem

6. Rational Expressions

  • 6.1 The Basics of Rational Expressions
    • 6.1.1 An Introduction to Rational Expressions
    • 6.1.2 Working with Fractions
    • 6.1.3 Writing Rational Expressions in Lowest Terms
  • 6.2 Operations with Rationals
    • 6.2.1 Multiplying and Dividing Rational Expressions
    • 6.2.2 Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions
    • 6.2.3 Rewriting Complex Fractions
  • 6.3 Equations with Rationals
    • 6.3.1 Solving a Linear Equation with Rationals
    • 6.3.2 Solving a Linear Equation with Restrictions
  • 6.4 Inequalities with Rationals
    • 6.4.1 Solving Rational Inequalities
    • 6.4.2 Solving Rational Inequalities: Another Example
    • 6.4.3 Determining Domain
  • 6.5 Applications
    • 6.5.1 Solving a Problem about Work
    • 6.5.2 Resistors in Parallel
  • 6.6 Variation
    • 6.6.1 An Introduction to Variation
    • 6.6.2 Direct Proportion
    • 6.6.3 Inverse Proportion
    • 6.6.4 Joint and Combined Proportion

7. Relations and Functions

  • 7.1 The Rectangular Coordinate System
    • 7.1.1 Using the Cartesian System
    • 7.1.2 Thinking Visually
  • 7.2 An Introduction to Functions
    • 7.2.1 Introducing Relations and Functions
    • 7.2.2 Functions and the Vertical-Line Test
    • 7.2.3 Function Notation and Values
  • 7.3 Domain and Range
    • 7.3.1 Finding Domain and Range
    • 7.3.2 Domain and Range: An Explicit Example
    • 7.3.3 Satisfying the Domain of a Function
    • 7.3.4 Graphing Important Functions
  • 7.4 The Algebra of Functions
    • 7.4.1 Operations on Functions
    • 7.4.2 Composite Functions
    • 7.4.3 Components of Composite Functions
  • 7.5 The Slope of a Line
    • 7.5.1 An Introduction to Slope
    • 7.5.2 Finding the Slope Given Two Points
  • 7.6 Graphing Linear Equations
    • 7.6.1 Using Intercepts to Graph Lines
    • 7.6.2 Working with Specific Lines
    • 7.6.3 Interpreting Slope from a Graph
    • 7.6.4 Graphing with a Point and the Slope
  • 7.7 Linear Equations
    • 7.7.1 Writing an Equation in Slope-Intercept Form
    • 7.7.2 Writing an Equation Given Two Points
    • 7.7.3 Writing an Equation in Point-Slope Form
    • 7.7.4 Matching a Slope-Intercept Equation with Its Graph
    • 7.7.5 Slope for Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
  • 7.8 Applications of Linear Concepts
    • 7.8.1 Constructing a Linear Model from a Set of Data
    • 7.8.2 Scatterplots and Predictions
    • 7.8.3 Interpreting Line Graphs
    • 7.8.4 Linear Cost and Revenue

8. Roots and Radicals

  • 8.1 Rational Exponents and Radicals
    • 8.1.1 Converting Rational Exponents and Radicals
    • 8.1.2 Radical Notation and Properties of Roots
    • 8.1.3 Variables and Negative Values under a Radical
  • 8.2 Simplifying Radical Expressions
    • 8.2.1 Simplifying Radicals
    • 8.2.2 Simplifying Radical Expressions with Variables
  • 8.3 Operations with Radical Expressions
    • 8.3.1 Adding and Subtracting Radical Expressions
    • 8.3.2 Rationalizing Denominators
  • 8.4 Equations with Radicals
    • 8.4.1 Extraneous Roots
    • 8.4.2 Solving an Equation Containing a Radical
    • 8.4.3 Solving Equations with Two Radical Expressions
    • 8.4.4 Solving Equations with Rational Exponents
  • 8.5 Complex Numbers
    • 8.5.1 Introducing and Writing Complex Numbers
    • 8.5.2 Rewriting Powers of i
    • 8.5.3 Adding and Subtracting Complex Numbers
    • 8.5.4 Multiplying Complex Numbers
    • 8.5.5 Dividing Complex Numbers
  • 8.6 Applications
    • 8.6.1 Finding the Length of the Diagonal of a Cube
    • 8.6.2 Finding the Distance and the Midpoint between Two Points
    • 8.6.3 Applications in Meteorology

9. Quadratic Equations

  • 9.1 The Basics of Quadratics
    • 9.1.1 An Introduction to Quadratics
    • 9.1.2 Solving Quadratics by Factoring
  • 9.2 Graphs of Quadratics
    • 9.2.1 Finding x- and y-intercepts
    • 9.2.2 Nice-Looking Parabolas
    • 9.2.3 Graphing Parabolas
  • 9.3 Solving by Completing the Square
    • 9.3.1 Solving by Completing the Square
    • 9.3.2 Completing the Square: Another Example
    • 9.3.3 Finding the Vertex by Completing the Square
  • 9.4 Writing Quadratic Equations
    • 9.4.1 Using the Vertex to Write the Equation
    • 9.4.2 Building a Polynomial Equation from Its Solutions
  • 9.5 Solving with the Quadratic Formula
    • 9.5.1 Proving the Quadratic Formula
    • 9.5.2 Using the Quadratic Formula
    • 9.5.3 Predicting Types of Solutions From the Discriminant
    • 9.5.4 Using the Discriminant to Graph Parabolas
  • 9.6 Equations Quadratic in Form
    • 9.6.1 Solving for a Squared Variable
    • 9.6.2 Finding Real-Number Restrictions
    • 9.6.3 Solving Fancy Quadratics
    • 9.6.4 Horizontal Parabolas
  • 9.7 Formulas and Applications
    • 9.7.1 Solving a Quadratic Geometry Problem
    • 9.7.2 Solving with the Pythagorean Theorem
    • 9.7.3 Solving a Motion Problem
    • 9.7.4 Solving a Projectile Problem
    • 9.7.5 Solving Other Problems
  • 9.8 Nonlinear Inequalities
    • 9.8.1 Solving Quadratic Inequalities
    • 9.8.2 Solving Quadratic Inequalities: Another Example

10. Systems of Equations

  • 10.1 Linear Systems in Two Variables
    • 10.1.1 An Introduction to Linear Systems
    • 10.1.2 Solving a System by Graphing
    • 10.1.3 Solving a System by Substitution
    • 10.1.4 Solving a System by Elimination
  • 10.2 Linear Systems in Three Variables
    • 10.2.1 An Introduction to Systems in Three Variables
    • 10.2.2 Solving Systems with Three Variables
    • 10.2.3 Solving Inconsistent Systems
    • 10.2.4 Solving Dependent Systems
    • 10.2.5 Solving Systems with Two Equations
  • 10.3 Applications of Linear Systems
    • 10.3.1 Investments
    • 10.3.2 Partial Fractions
  • 10.4 Solutions by Matrix Methods
    • 10.4.1 An Introduction to Matrices
    • 10.4.2 Using the Gauss-Jordan Method
    • 10.4.3 Using Gauss-Jordan: Another Example
  • 10.5 Determinants
    • 10.5.1 Evaluating 2x2 Determinants
    • 10.5.2 Evaluating nxn Determinants
  • 10.6 Cramer's Rule
    • 10.6.1 Using Cramer's Rule
    • 10.6.2 Using Cramer's Rule in a 3x3 Matrix
  • 10.7 Working with Inequalities
    • 10.7.1 An Introduction to Graphing Linear Inequalities
    • 10.7.2 Graphing Linear and Nonlinear Inequalities
    • 10.7.3 Graphing the Solution Set of a System of Inequalities
  • 10.8 Systems of Nonlinear Equations
    • 10.8.1 Solving a Nonlinear System by Elimination
    • 10.8.2 Solving a Nonlinear System by Substitution
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It is wonderful to have the checklist of each lesson for my daughter to see her progress, and for me to have an easy evaluation for our homeschool program. It is so nice not to be the one grading her.
When I use Thinkwell, the retention rate of what I've learned is significantly increased. I would say that Thinkwell not only makes the material easier to digest but creates a fun way to actually learn math.
Thinkwell turns learning into enjoyment, only you learn so much more!
Thinkwell contains all the necessary components for you to gain a thorough understanding of the course. The lectures are there, the notes are there, and the quizzes are there. It's a complete package.
Throughout the Thinkwell lectures, I never got lost. I never got confused. I was able to understand... The lecture section is outstanding.
Thinkwell is a program that allows students like me to learn these subjects while still keeping us entertained. Good job, Thinkwell.
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Professor Burger is passionate about Math and he is able to transmit his passion and clear thinking through his lectures. I could understand not only the concepts and HOW to solve the problems, but WHY we solve them in a certain way... You meet just a few of those instructors in a lifetime.
I have recommended them to many friends, all of whom have used them with great success. Dr. Burger's sense of humor really adds to the class and makes it particularly engaging for my son.
Our family has enjoyed the format and scope of the Thinkwell course we've used in our homeschool program. It is well organized, easy to use and has been an asset to our homeschool curriculum.
Thinkwell is a great resource, with videos, notes, sample problems, and animations to help students understand the material and solve problems.
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Thinkwell is a WONDERFUL tool for learning... The transcripts and supplemental materials are very helpful in explaining the material and they make studying for the exams an absolute breeze.
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