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# 1: The Whole Numbers

• • David Arnold
• Retired Professor (Mathematics) at College of the Redwoods
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Welcome to the study of prealgebra. In this first chapter of study, we will introduce the set of natural numbers, then follow with the set of whole numbers. We will then follow with a quick review of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills involving whole numbers that are prerequisite for success in the study of prealgebra. Along the way we will introduce a number of properties of the whole numbers and show how that can be used to evaluate expressions involving whole number operations. We will also define what is meant by prime and composite numbers, discuss a number of divisibility tests, then show how any composite number can be written uniquely as a product of prime numbers. This will lay the foundation for requisite skills with fractional numbers in later chapters. Finally, we will introduce the concept of a variable, then introduce equations and technique required for their solution. We will use equations to model and solve a number of real-world applications along the way.

Let’s begin the journey.