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Welcome to Succeed with Math!

Introduction

Why study math? There are at least three reasons:

  1. There is a lot of evidence that people who are numerate—that is, people who aren’t afraid of figures and are happy discussing data—are much more likely to advance in their careers and earn more than those who are intimidated by the very thought of working with numbers.
  2. Math is a lot of fun—you’ll find puzzles and fun stuff in Succeed with Math that you can use to impress your friends and family.
  3. And, most important, math is a fundamental and beautiful subject: a key to understanding the universe and ourselves.

Why should you study with Succeed with Math?

That depends who you are:

  • Were you somewhat traumatized by math in your previous education? Are you convinced that you can never understand it? Well, you can! We are all “hard-wired” at birth to do math. If some of your wiring doesn’t work as well as it could because of your previous experience, then this is the place for you.
  • Were you just bored with math previously? Couldn’t see the point? Succeed with Math is full of very practical examples that you’ll be able to use in real life.
  • Are you rusty in math and need to brush up? In Succeed with Math, you’ll be able to explore exactly those areas you’d like to review, skipping or skimming the parts you don’t need.
  • Did you do OK in math, but never had the chance to do more? Would like to see if you could take it further? This is just the opportunity to continue on your math journey.

What to Expect?

Here is a brief overview of the topics and ideas that you’ll engage in.

  • Unit 1: Math and You is designed to build math confidence, to start to develop problem-solving strategies, and to explore some of the study skills that you need to be successful in mathematics.

  • Unit 2: Getting Down to the Basics addresses these key areas: the history of numbers, using a number line, decimals, rounding, and estimating.

  • Unit 3: Everyday Math introduces the four basic math operations and some mental math strategies.

  • Unit 4: Math in Real World looks at more problem-solving strategies, as well as the importance of order of calculations and exponents.

  • Unit 5: Numbers Everywhere explores units of measurement, signed numbers, and reading and writing mathematics.

  • Unit 6: Parts of the Whole focuses on understanding and using fractions, and applying the four basic math operations to them.

  • Unit 7: Using Fractions reinforces strategies for what to do when you get stuck on a problem, using a real-life problem with fractions.

  • Unit 8: Relationships Among Numbers provides activities to address how numbers are used in daily life, and explores the connections among fractions, percentages, and ratios.

  • Unit 9: Exploring Patterns and Formulas explores some of these patterns to help you tackle a different variety of problems.

  • Unit 10: Investigating Geometric Shapes and Sizes is about how shapes and sizes can be measured.

  • Unit 11: Communicating with Data, Charts, and Graphs explores how we collect, record, analyze, interpret and use math in our everyday life.

Icons Explained

Succeed with Math includes many different types of activities to bring math alive and to help you understand it. You will read through explanations and examples, and work through math activities that have hints and full solutions. You will regularly come across the following icons, which will tell you what sort of activity is coming up.

Don’t worry about how to use these at the moment. The first time a new activity is introduced instructions will be provided.

Notepad iconTry an activity to engage in the math.

These don’t require any special actions from you—just a pen and some paper!

Videoclip symbol Watch video clips or play games that bring topics to life, or read an article with more details on a topic.

Pencast symbol View pencasts, in which a teacher explains step-by-step how to solve a problem.

Note that these pencasts are animated with an audio commentary. For these to work properly you will need the newest version of Adobe Reader (Adobe Reader X or higher), which you may need to download or update on your computer. Once Adobe Reader X has been installed you will need to ensure that it is the default program for PDF files to open in. It’s a good idea to do this now, so you have it when you need it. Click on this link and follow the instructions you are given. 

Calculator symbol Use a web calculator—this can be accessed from the Tools panel on the left of your screen at any time.

tick symbol Try self-check problems and a brief quiz to test your understanding.

audio symbol Listen to audio clips that give you some background on a topic.

Practice Quiz

For Unit 2 and following units, there are a pre and post quizzes for you to complete. You should do these quizzes as you come across them. They will help you when planning your studies, show you how far you have come already and also give you a bit more practice with the concepts covered. Unit 1 has only one quiz, which is included at the end of the unit. Give it a try when you come across it.

More About Succeed with Math

How Much Time Will it Take to Complete the Coursework?

That depends on you, your goals, your previous background, and your skills. A reasonable estimate is between 80 and 100 hours. If you study at the rate of 8 hours a week over 10 weeks, or 4 hours a week over 20 weeks—see, you’re doing math already!—you may be able to complete everything in the units. But it might take you longer, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is also a chance that you may be quicker.

What Previous Experience is Needed?

If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, then you are ready to go. In fact, because the course uses an online calculator, you will often have a choice as to what you do in your head and where you let the calculator help.

Will I Need to Buy Any Math Books?

No, you won’t need to buy any text books to complete the course—but you will need a notebook to do the activities and take notes in.

How Does it Work?

You’ll be studying online using e-learning, the latest learning environment. But this doesn’t need many special techniques on your part. All that is required is that you:

  • Read the text.
  • Do all the activities! Research shows that students who try the activities understand the material much better than those who don’t, even if they don’t get them right. In fact, it’s especially true for students who don’t get them right at first, as that’s often a good way to learn.
  • Click on the links to enjoy the videos, play the educational games and watch the pencasts.
  • Keep in mind what psychologists Hoppe and Stovanovic (2008) say: “People often overestimate the importance of intellectual ability. Practise and perseverance contribute more to accomplishment than being smart.”

At the end of most units, you’ll find these important sections:

  • A self-check for more practice on the key skills.
  • A post-unit quiz to check your progress and get feedback.
  • A study checklist to summarize concepts that you have learned.
  • Extensions and further exploration (except for Unit 1) to give yourself a small challenge and discover some new math.  These sections are optional, so if you are short of time there is no need to study them. It is more important to spend your time on the self-check and post-unit quizzes.

Now that you've read this introduction, you can get started on Unit 1: Math and You.