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# Foundations of Real World Math (saylor.org)

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This course begins your journey into the “Real World Math” series. These courses are intended not just to help you learn basic algebra and geometry topics, but also to show you how these topics are used in everyday life.

“Why is math important? Why do I have to learn math?” These are typical questions that you have most likely asked at one time or another in your education. While you may learn things in math class that you will not use again, the study of mathematics is still an important one for human development. Math is widely-used in daily activities (e.g. shopping, cooking, etc.) and in most careers (e.g. medicine, teaching, engineering, construction, business, statistics in psychology, etc.). Math is also considered a “universal language.” One of the fundamental reasons why you learn math is to help you tackle problems, both mathematical and non-mathematical, with clear, concise, and logical steps. In this course, you will study important fundamental math concepts.

This course begins your journey into the “Real World Math” series. These courses are intended not just to help you learn basic algebra and geometry topics, but also to show you how these topics are used in everyday life. In this course, you will cover some of the most basic math applications, like decimals, percents, and even the dreaded “f-word”–fractions. You will not only learn the theory behind these topics, but also how to apply these concepts to your life. You will learn some basic mathematical properties, such as the reflexive property, associative property, and others. The best part is that you most likely already know them, even if you did not know the proper mathematical names.

Let’s start with fractions. Have fractions ever been bothersome to you? Do you think that there is no purpose for them? In this course, you will learn that fractions are all around us in the forms of measurement, ratios, and proportions–and we think you might change your tune on the subject. You will see how to solve those sometimes troubling fraction problems, like the ones that use 1 ? and 3 ?, which don’t divide as evenly as you’d like. In case you’re not yet familiar with fractions, let’s offer a common every day example: a recipe for making chocolate chip cookies. You see a recipe that calls for 2 ? cups of flour, ¾ cup of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and you need to make 2 ½ the recipe amount. Each of these measurements involves fractions. If you want to make the right amount of cookies, you have to determine how much you need of each ingredient.

This course will also introduce you to decimals and percentages, which are widely used in money, finances, and measurement. Decimals are all around you, including when you download applications for your smart phone. Say, for example, you’ve just purchased the newest Angry Birds application for \$0.99. The number 0.99 is a decimal. If you want to spend no more than \$10.00, then you will have to determine how many other applications you can download without going over budget. In this course, you will learn how to solve complex decimal problems, such as 13.4561 – 21.03 and 301.21 * 140.31.

You will also learn to write ratios and solve proportions in the course. You are probably already very familiar with ratios, even if you’re not aware of it. A recipe that calls for “2 parts milk to 1 part flour,” or a speed limit sign that reads “55 miles per hour,” or a newspaper ad listing apples at a cost of \$2.99 per pound — these are all examples of ratios. Ratios and proportions are particularly useful when doing an everyday activity like planning a party: “If I need two hams for nine guests, how many hams will I need for thirty guests?” Learning how to set up and solve problems like this is a very useful mathematical concept that is applicable to real life situations.

Finally, have you wondered how graph and charts are created with certain data? Data can be visually represented in various forms (bar graphs, circle graphs, etc.) to convey information to a reader. In this course, you will see data in common forms and will have to interpret data (for example, reading a chart of the most downloaded songs from iTunes or interpreting football statistics for your fantasy league). The final unit of the course pertains to charts and graphs and includes the interpretation and creation of various charts and graphs.