Allow about 30 minutes for each presentation
- 1. Introduction
- An introduction to the series, this program presents several mathematical themes and
emphasizes why algebra is important in todays world.
- 2. The Language of Algebra
- This program provides a survey of basic mathematical terminology. Content includes
properties of the real number system and the basic axioms and theorems of algebra.
Specific terms covered include algebraic expression, variable, product, sum term, factors,
common factors, like terms, simplify, equation, sets of numbers, and axioms. Definitions
of these terms lay a foundation for working with the concepts.
- 3. Exponents and Radicals
- This program explains the properties of exponents and radicals: their definitions, their
rules, and their applications to positive numbers. The program shows how to use the Rules
for Exponents to simplify expressions, demonstrating concepts through a discussion of the
O-ring failure of the Challenger Space Shuttle.
- 4. Factoring Polynomials
- This program defines polynomials and describes how the distributive property is used to
multiply common monomial factors with the FOIL method. It covers factoring, the difference
of two squares, trinomials as products of two binomials, the sum and difference of two
cubes, and regrouping of terms.
- 5. Linear Equations
- This is the first program in which equations are solved. It shows how solutions are
obtained, what they mean, and how to check them using one unknown. Concepts are worked out
in an application problem involving a modern sewage plant near Los Angeles, where a linear
equation is set up and solved to determine how long to keep open an inlet pipe.
- 6. Complex Numbers
- To the sets of numbers reviewed in previous lessons, this program adds complex numbers
their definition and their use in basic operations and quadratic equations.
Students will learn how to combine like terms, apply the FOIL method, and rationalize the
denominator for finding the product or quotient of two complex numbers.
- 7. Quadratic Equations
- This program reviews the quadratic equation and covers standard form, factoring,
checking the solution, the Zero Product Property, and the difference of two squares.
Environmental and aviation examples provide realistic problems, and the method of
Completing the Square is used to solve them.
- 8. Inequalities
- This program teaches students the properties and solution of inequalities, linking
positive and negative numbers to the direction of the inequality. The program presents
three applications of inequalities: modeling problems of the U.S. Postal Service, finding
the cheapest way to travel, and conducting market research in the pizza industry.
- 9. Absolute Value
- In this program, the concept of absolute value is defined, enabling students to use it
in equations and inequalities. One application example involves systolic blood pressure,
using a formula incorporating absolute value to find a persons pressure
difference from normal. The recipe for making fireworks offers another example.
- 10. Linear Relations
- This program looks at the linear relationship between two variables, expressed as a set
of ordered pairs. Students are shown the use of linear equations to develop and provide
information about two quantities, as well as the applications of these equations to the
slope of a line.
- 11. Circle and Parabola
- The circle and parabola are presented as two of the four conic sections explored in this
series. The circle, its various measures when graphed on the coordinate plane (distance,
radius, etc.), its related equations (e.g., center-radius form), and its relationships
with other shapes are covered, as is the parabola with its various measures and
characteristics (focus, directrix, vertex, etc.). An earthquake epicenter provides a
- 12. Ellipse and Hyperbola
- The ellipse and hyperbola, the other two conic sections examined in the series, are
introduced. The program defines the two terms, distinguishing between them with different
language, equations, and graphic representations. Architecture and surgery provide
interesting application examples.
- 13. Functions
- This program defines a function, discusses domain and range, and develops an equation
from real situations. The cutting of pizza and encoding of secret messages provide
subjects for the demonstration of functions and their usefulness.
- 14. Composition and Inverse Functions
- Graphics are used to introduce composites and inverses of functions as applied to
calculation of the Gross National Product. One-to-one functions and the horizontal line
test are introduced, and more encoded messages and the hazards of the bends in
scuba diving provide instructive applications of the functions discussed.
- 15. Variation
- In this program, students are given examples of special functions in the form of direct
variation and inverse variation, with a discussion of combined variation and the constant
of proportionality. These are explored in relation to polynomials and assorted equations,
with applications from chemistry, physics, astronomy, and the food industry.
- 16. Polynomial Functions
- This program explains how to identify, graph, and determine all intercepts of a
polynomial function. It covers the role of coefficients; real numbers; exponents; and
linear, quadratic, and cubic functions. This program touches upon factors, x-intercepts,
and zero values. These terms are demonstrated with the baking of pizza.
- 17. Rational Functions
- A rational function is the quotient of two polynomial functions. The properties of these
functions are investigated using cases in which each rational function is expressed in its
simplified form. The relationship between numerator and denominator is clarified, and sign
and other graphs are used to determine intercepts, symmetry, and asymptotes.
- 18. Exponential Functions
- Students are taught the exponential function, as illustrated through formulas. The
population of Massachusetts, the learning curve, bacterial growth, and
radioactive decay demonstrate these functions and the concepts of exponential growth and
- 19. Logarithmic Functions
- This program covers the logarithmic relationship, the use of logarithmic properties, and
the handling of a scientific calculator. How radioactive dating and the Richter scale
depend on the properties of logarithms is explained. Many rules and tests from previous
programs are also incorporated into the lesson.
- 20. Systems of Equations
- The case of two linear equations in two unknowns is considered throughout this program.
Elimination and substitution methods are used to find single solutions to systems of
linear and nonlinear equations. Consistent, inconsistent, and dependent systems are also
explored through examples from ship navigation and garment production.
- 21. Systems of Linear Inequalities
- Elimination and substitution are used again to solve systems of linear inequalities.
Linear programming is shown to solve problems in the Berlin airlift, production of butter
and ice cream, school redistricting, and other situations while constraints, corner
points, objective functions, the region of feasible solutions, and minimum and maximum
values are also explored.
- 22. Arithmetic Sequences and Series
- When the growth of a child is regular, it can be described by an arithmetic sequence.
This program differentiates between arithmetic and nonarithmetic sequences as it presents
the solutions to sequence- and series-related problems. Definitions include sequence,
arithmetic sequence, arithmetic series, fixed number, and common difference.
- 23. Geometric Sequences and Series
- This program provides examples of geometric sequences and series (f-stops on a camera
and the bouncing of a ball), explaining the meaning of nonzero constant real number and
common ratio. Finite and infinite geometric series and the sequence of partial sums are
also defined in the discussion.
- 24. Mathematical Induction
- Mathematical proofs applied to hypothetical statements shape this discussion on
mathematical induction. This segment exhibits special cases, looks at the development of
number patterns, relates the patterns to Pascals triangle and factorials, and
elaborates the general form of the theorem.
- 25. Permutations and Combinations
- How many variations in a license plate number or poker hand are possible? This program
answers the question and shows students how its done. Techniques for counting the
number of ways in which collections of objects can be arranged, ordered, and combined are
- 26. Probability
- In this final program, students see how the various techniques of algebra that they have
learned can be applied to the study of probability. The program shows that games of
chance, health statistics, and product safety are areas in which decisions must be made
according to our understanding of the odds. It also shows how the subject of probability
has evolved to support such fields as genetics, social science, and medicine.
About These Videos
In this series, host Sol Garfunkel explains how algebra
is used for solving real-world problems and clearly explains concepts that may baffle many
students. Graphic illustrations and on-location examples help students connect mathematics
to daily life. The series also has applications in geometry and calculus instruction.
Algebra is also valuable for teachers seeking to review the subject matter.