Pre-Algebra Essentials For Dummies

Pre-Algebra Essentials For Dummies

by Mark Zegarelli


View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Thursday, October 25?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.


Pre-Algebra Essentials For Dummies by Mark Zegarelli

Many students worry about starting algebra. Pre-AlgebraEssentials For Dummies provides an overview of criticalpre-algebra concepts to help new algebra students (and theirparents) take the next step without fear. Free of ramp-up material,Pre-Algebra Essentials For Dummies contains content focusedon key topics only. It provides discrete explanations of criticalconcepts taught in a typical pre-algebra course, from fractions,decimals, and percents to scientific notation and simple variableequations. This guide is also a perfect reference for parents whoneed to review critical pre-algebra concepts as they help studentswith homework assignments, as well as for adult learners headedback into the classroom who just need to a refresher of the coreconcepts.

The Essentials For Dummies Series
Dummies is proud to present our new series, The Essentials ForDummies. Now students who are prepping for exams, preparing tostudy new material, or who just need a refresher can have aconcise, easy-to-understand review guide that covers an entirecourse by concentrating solely on the most important concepts. Fromalgebra and chemistry to grammar and Spanish, our expert authorsfocus on the skills students most need to succeed in a subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780470618387
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/17/2010
Series: For Dummies Series
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 375,914
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Mark Zegarelli is a math tutor and author of several books, including Basic Math & Pre-Algebra For Dummies.

Read an Excerpt

Click to read or download

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 2

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Chapter 1 Arming Yourself with Math Basics 5

Understanding Sets of Numbers 5

The Big Four Operations 6

Adding things up 6

Take it away: Subtracting 7

Multiplying 7

Arriving on the dot 7

Speaking parenthetically 8

Doing division lickety-split 8

Fun and Useful Properties of the Big Four Operations 9

Inverse operations 9

Commutative operations 9

Associative operations 10

Distributing to lighten the load 11

Other Operations: Exponents, Square Roots, and Absolute Values 11

Understanding exponents 11

Discovering your roots 12

Figuring out absolute value 13

Finding Factors 13

Generating factors 13

Finding the greatest common factor (GCF) 14

Finding Multiples 15

Generating multiples 15

Finding the least common multiple (LCM) 16

Chapter 2 Evaluating Arithmetic Expressions 17

The Three E's: Equations, Expressions, and Evaluations 18

Equality for all: Equations 18

Hey, it's just an expression 19

Evaluating the situation 19

Putting the Three E's together 20

Following the Order of Operations 20

Order of operations and the Big Four expressions 21

Expressions with only addition and subtraction 22

Expressions with only multiplication and division 23

Mixed-operator expressions 24

Order of operations in expressions with exponents 25

Order of operations in expressions with parentheses 25

Big Four expressions with parentheses 26

Expressions with exponents and parentheses 26

Expressions with parentheses raised to an exponent 27

Expressions with nested parentheses 28

Chapter 3 Say What? Making Sense of Word Problems 31

Handling Basic Word Problems 32

Turning word problems into word equations 32

Jotting down information as word equations 32

Turning more-complex statements into word equations 33

Figuring out what the problem's asking 34

Plugging in numbers for words 35

Example: Send in the clowns 35

Example: Our house in the middle of our street 36

Solving More-Challenging Word Problems 36

When numbers get serious 37

Lots of information 38

Putting it all together 40

Chapter 4 Figuring Out Fractions 43

Reducing Fractions to Lowest Terms 44

Multiplying and Dividing Fractions 44

Multiplying numerators and denominators straight across 45

Doing a flip to divide fractions 45

Adding Fractions 46

Finding the sum of fractions with the same denominator 46

Adding fractions with different denominators 47

Subtracting Fractions 49

Subtracting fractions with the same denominator 49

Subtracting fractions with different denominators 50

Working with Mixed Numbers 51

Converting between improper fractions and mixed numbers 51

Switching to an improper fraction 51

Switching to a mixed number 52

Multiplying and dividing mixed numbers 52

Adding and subtracting mixed numbers 53

Adding two mixed numbers 53

Subtracting mixed numbers 55

Chapter 5 Deciphering Decimals 59

Performing the Big Four Operations with Decimals 59

Adding decimals 60

Subtracting decimals 61

Multiplying decimals 62

Dividing decimals 63

Dealing with more zeros in the dividend 64

Completing decimal division 64

Converting between Decimals and Fractions 65

Changing decimals to fractions 66

Doing a basic decimal-to-fraction conversion 66

Mixing numbers and reducing fractions 67

Changing fractions to decimals 68

The last stop: Terminating decimals 68

The endless ride: Repeating decimals 69

Chapter 6 Puzzling Out Percents 71

Understanding Percents Greater than 100% 72

Converting to and from Percents, Decimals, and Fractions 72

Going from percents to decimals 73

Changing decimals into percents 73

Switching from percents to fractions 73

Turning fractions into percents 74

Solving Percent Problems 75

Figuring out simple percent problems 76

Deciphering more-difficult percent problems 77

Applying Percent Problems 78

Identifying the three types of percent problems 79

Introducing the percent circle 80

Finding the ending number 81

Discovering the percentage 81

Tracking down the starting number 82

Chapter 7 Fraction, Decimal, and Percent Word Problems 85

Adding and Subtracting Parts of the Whole 85

Sharing a pizza: Fractions 86

Buying by the pound: Decimals 86

Splitting the vote: Percents 87

Multiplying Fractions in Everyday Situations 88

Buying less than advertised 88

Computing leftovers 89

Multiplying Decimals and Percents in Word Problems 90

Figuring out how much money is left 90

Finding out how much you started with 91

Handling Percent Increases and Decreases in Word Problems 93

Raking in the dough: Finding salary increases 94

Earning interest on top of interest 94

Getting a deal: Calculating discounts 96

Chapter 8 Using Variables in Algebraic Expressions 97

Variables: X Marks the Spot 97

Expressing Yourself with Algebraic Expressions 98

Evaluating algebraic expressions 99

Coming to algebraic terms 101

Making the commute: Rearranging your terms 102

Identifying the coefficient and variable 103

Identifying similar terms 104

Considering algebraic terms and the Big Four operations 104

Adding terms 104

Subtracting terms 105

Multiplying terms 106

Dividing terms 107

Simplifying Algebraic Expressions 108

Combining similar terms 109

Removing parentheses from an algebraic expression 110

Drop everything: Parentheses with a plus sign 110

Switch signs: Parentheses with a minus sign 110

Distribute: Parentheses with no sign 111

Foil: Two terms in each set of parentheses 112

Chapter 9 X's Secret Identity: Solving Algebraic Equations 115

Understanding Algebraic Equations 116

Using x in equations 116

Four ways to solve algebraic equations 117

Eyeballing easy equations 117

Rearranging slightly harder equations 117

Guessing and checking equations 118

Applying algebra to more-difficult equations 119

Checks and Balances: Solving for X 119

Striking a balance 119

Using the balance scale to isolate x 120

Rearranging Equations to Isolate X 122

Rearranging terms on one side of an equation 122

Moving terms to the other side of the equal sign 123

Removing parentheses from equations 124

Using cross-multiplication to remove fractions 127

Chapter 10 Decoding Algebra Word Problems 129

Using a Five-Step Approach 130

Declaring a variable 130

Setting up the equation 131

Solving the equation 132

Answering the question 133

Checking your work 133

Choosing Your Variable Wisely 134

Solving More Complex Algebra Problems 135

Chapter 11 Geometry: Perimeter, Area, Surface Area, and Volume 139

Closed Encounters: Understanding 2-D Shapes 139

Circles 140

Polygons 140

Adding Another Dimension: Solid Geometry 141

The many faces of polyhedrons 141

3-D shapes with curves 142

Measuring Shapes: Perimeter, Area, Surface Area, and Volume 143

2-D: Measuring on the flat 143

Going 'round in circles 144

Measuring triangles 146

Measuring squares 147

Working with rectangles 148

Calculating with rhombuses 148

Measuring parallelograms 149

Measuring trapezoids 150

Spacing out: Measuring in three dimensions 151

Spheres 152

Cubes 153

Boxes (Rectangular solids) 153

Prisms 154

Cylinders 154

Pyramids and cones 155

Chapter 12 Picture It! Graphing Information 157

Examining Three Common Graph Styles 158

Bar graph 158

Pie chart 159

Line graph 160

Using Cartesian Coordinates 162

Plotting points on a Cartesian graph 162

Drawing lines on a Cartesian graph 164

Solving problems with a Cartesian graph 167

Chapter 13 Ten Essential Math Concepts 169

Playing with Prime Numbers 169

Zero: Much Ado about Nothing 170

Delicious Pi 170

Equal Signs and Equations 171

The Cartesian Graph 171

Relying on Functions 172

Rational Numbers 172

Irrational Numbers 173

The Real Number Line 173

Exploring the Infinite 174

Index 175

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Pre-Algebra Essentials For Dummies 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it easy to use. I needed a book that would break down in terms I could understand. I found this one to be exactly what I wanted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Figglebottom More than 1 year ago
There are two problems with this book: (1) The order of the presentation is unusual, but the clarity of the presentation helps to make up for that. (2) The book has NO PROBLEMS! I've never seen a book explain math concepts without offering some problems for the reader to test his / her new skills. This means that I have to go find another book that provides problems for me to evaluate whether the skills in this book have actually been learned. On the plus side, this book is concise yet clear. I know some complain that it starts at the level of basic arithmetic and its notation, but some students taking algebra need such a refresher before jumping into the meatier topics. THREE STARS for being a clearly written book but not a complete learning experience for algebra.
watch444 More than 1 year ago
got this book to help me understand pre-algebra in order to help my grandson with his homework. very helpful. made sense. very glad I purchased this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you mark zegrelli
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I new the material displayed in the book in fourth grade.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I meant 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When you get the sample all it teahes you is how to subtract multiply add and divide basicaly the stuff you learn in 1st grade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you get the sample it tells you how to add subtract multiply and divide!LAME!