This unit begins with a brief introduction to course mechanics (for those taking the course for credit). It then discusses critical study skills. These skills are of specific importance in studying mathematics, but are probably applicable to almost any college subject. Specific skills discussed include: reading, listening, thinking, practice, and finding motivation. The unit then moves into basic mathematics background that is essential for the course. Nearly all students at the level of this course should have encountered these topics, but not all have necessarily mastered them. Discussion and exercises are included to assist students in mastering essential topics used later. Topics here include: basic arithmetic, divisibility and prime numbers, negative numbers, fractions, exponents and radicals, coordinates and graphs, proportionality and linearity, algebraic properties, and variables and parameters. Next, the unit tries to develop and improve "math sense" in the areas of number sense, operation sense, relation sense, and error sense. This "math sense" is not tied to any specific set of content, rather is is important at all levels and in all content. It is something people acquire with experience through contemplation and critical thinking; it is an ongoing process through all mathematical learning. The unit concludes with a discussion of several common techniques for strategic reasoning. This reasoning is typically what distinguishes effective mathematical thinkers from those who stagnate in mathematics. Like good math sense, developing strategic reasoning skills,is an ongoing process requiring experience, practice, and most importantly, critical reflection.
Read unit thoroughly
Try all exercises, activities and challenges at least once. Repeat exercises until you have sufficient practice.
If you cannot meet the expected success level on exercises 1.1 (Basic Multiplication) or exercise 1.6 (Signed Numbers), repeat these exercises at least weekly until you either meet the goal or finish the course.
Record time spent in class, in learning center, and otherwise for study log
At end of unit, submit a unit completion report (look under home page for template)
Successfully complete unit 1 quiz.