Intermediate Algebra: Functions & Authentic Applications (4th Edition)

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9780321620958: Intermediate Algebra: Functions & Authentic Applications (4th Edition)

Unique in its approach, the Lehmann Algebra Series uses curve fitting to model compelling, authentic situations, while answering the perennial question “But what is this good for?” Lehmann begins with interesting data sets, and then uses the data to find models and derive equations that fit the scenario. This interactive approach to the data helps readers connect concepts and motivates them to learn. The curve-fitting approach encourages readers to understand functions graphically, numerically, and symbolically. Because of the multi-faceted understanding that they gain, readers are able to verbally describe the concepts related to functions.

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            Before writing my algebra series, it was painfully apparent that my students couldn't relate to the applications in the course. I was plagued with the question, "What is this good for?" To try to bridge that gap, I wrote some labs, which facilitated my students in collecting data, finding models via curve fitting, and using the models to make estimates and predictions. My students really loved working with the current, compelling, and authentic data and experiencing how mathematics truly is useful.

            My students' response was so strong that I decided to write an algebra series. Little did I know that to realize this goal, I would need to embark on a 15-year challenging journey, but the rewards of hearing such excitement from students and faculty across the country has made it all worthwhile! I'm proud to have played even a small role in raising peoples' respect and enthusiasm for mathematics.

            I have tried to honor my inspiration: by working with authentic data, students can experience the power of mathematics. A random-sample study at my college suggests that I am achieving this goal. The study concludes that students who used my series were more likely to feel that mathematics would be useful in their lives (P-value 0.0061) as well as their careers (P-value 0.024).

            In addition to curve fitting, my approach includes other types of meaningful modeling, directed-discovery explorations, conceptual questions, and of course, a large bank of skill problems. The curve-fitting applications serve as a portal for students to see the usefulness of mathematics so that they become fully engaged in the class. Once involved, they are more receptive to all aspects of the course.

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