College algebra is a difficult subject to teach while satisfying the entire class. You invariably get some that will breeze their way through it (a minority) and then others will struggle. In my experience, the most common complaint from the struggling students is that they cannot grasp the material because they have no concrete application to relate it to. Furthermore, that application must be something that they are either familiar with or can easily understand.
In this book, the authors generally solve the problem of the lack of applications. Using a sequence of steps and many applications that are easy to understand, they move the student from the basics of data collection and display through polynomial functions and inverses.
The table of contents gives a good sense of the book and its approach. A large number of exercises are given at the ends of the sections and chapters and solutions to many are included in an appendix.
I have not taught college algebra in a long time; however, if that opportunity were to be presented, this is the book that I would use as the text.
(See also the review of the previous edition.)
Charles Ashbacher splits his time between consulting with industry in projects involving math and computers, teaching college classes and co-editing The Journal of Recreational Mathematics. In his spare time, he reads about these things and helps his daughter in her lawn care business.
1. Making Sense of Data and Functions
2. Rates of Change and Linear Functions
3. When Lines Meet: Linear Systems
4. The Laws of Exponents and Logarithms: Measuring the Universe
5. Growth and Decay: An Introduction to Exponential Functions
6. Logarithmic Links: Logarithmic and Exponential Functions
7. Power Functions
8. Quadratics, Polynomials, and Beyond
An Extended Exploration: The Mathematics of Motion