First Course in Algebra (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from First Course in Algebra

Considering the various chapters in some detail, Chapter I acquaints the pupil with certain elementary notions that are central in algebra, more especially that of the literal number and the simple equation. The development at this point is easy and natural, being based upon familiar simple principles from arithmetic, and the whole is abundantly supplied with problems of a kind that will instinctively ap peal to the average beginner, and thus invite his early interest in the subject. Chapter II, where negative number first appears, contains an unusually large variety of illustrations tending to bring out the full significance of such numbers. Chapter IV, entitled Multiplication and Special Cases Of Factoring, departs slightly from the usual procedure in that it develops the elements of factoring along with those of multiplication instead of delaying the entire subject of fac toring for a later chapter. In this way the two subjects (which are but the reverse of each other) are seen from the beginning in their mutual relations. However, it is only the simpler types of factoring that are taken up at this early stage, the more difficult ones being reserved for the following chapter. The result of this arrangement, as shown by ex perience, is that factoring, having thus had an early and natural beginning in connection with multiplication, becomes less isolated and consequently is the more readily grasped by the beginner.

Passing to the later chapters, it may be observed that in the treatment Of surds, radicals, and roots (chapters XIV and XV) the pupil is taught the use of tables a topic heretofore quite neglected in elementary algebra, yet one Of increasing importance owing to the number of pupils that pass from our high schools directly into technical pursuits.