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Together with geometry, analysis, and number theory, algebra is one of the several main branches of mathematics. Elementary algebra is usually part of the curriculum in early high school and provides an introduction to the basic ideas of algebra, including effects of adding and multiplying numbers, the concept of variable, definition of polynomials, along with factorization and determining their roots. However, algebra is much broader than this. In addition to working directly with numbers, algebra covers working with symbols, variables, and set elements. Addition and multiplication are viewed as general operations, and their precise definitions lead to structures such as groups, rings and fields.

Most students at the high school level are being exposed only to elementary algebra—its most basic form. It is taught to students who are presumed to have no knowledge of mathematics beyond the basic principles of arithmetic. In arithmetic, only numbers and their arithmetical operations (such as +, -, ×, ÷) occur; in algebra, numbers are often denoted by symbols (such as a, x, y). This is useful because:

• It allows the general formulation of arithmetical laws (such as a + b = b + a for all a and b), and thus is the first step to a systematic exploration of the properties of the real number system.

• It allows the reference to "unknown" numbers, the formulation of equations and the study of how to solve these (for instance, Find a number x such that 3x + 1 = 10").

• It allows the formulation of functional relationships (such as "If you sell x tickets, then your profit will be 3x - 10 dollars, or f(x) = 3x - 10, where f is the function, and x is the number the function is performed on.").

For a much better overview and history of algebra, go to the

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Algebra
Core Skills Series
from Steck-Vaughn Company
\$16.99
Algebra & Trigonometry: Functions & Applications - Set
by Paul A. Foerster
from Prentice Hall
\$85.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra - Teacher's Guide
Algebra - The Easy Way
by Douglas A. Downing
3rd from Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
\$6.50 (1 in stock)
Algebra 1 - Student Textbook
2nd edition from A Beka Books
\$20.00 (4 in stock)
Algebra 1 Flipper
from Christopher Lee Publications
\$8.95
Algebra 2 - Student Text
from A Beka Books
Algebra 2 - Student Textbook
2nd edition from Bob Jones University Press
\$48.61 \$25.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra 2 Flipper
from Christopher Lee Publications
\$8.95
Algebra 2 with Trigonometry - DVD
\$165.00
Algebra and Trigonometry - Student's Solutions Manual
by David J. Ellenbogen, Judith A. Beecher, Judith A. Penna, Marvin L. Bittinger
3rd edition from Addison Wesley
\$27.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra Book 2
by Stephen B. Jahnke
from Garlic Press
\$6.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra for Dummies
by Mary Jane Sterling
1st edition from For Dummies
\$9.50 (1 in stock)
Algebra I Word Problems
from Critical Thinking Books
\$29.99 \$23.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra II Word Problems
from Critical Thinking Books
\$14.00 (1 in stock)
by Sarah Jane Brian
\$5.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra Survival Guide
by Josh Rappaport
from Singing Turtle Press
\$8.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra Tiles Workbook
by Renee Burgdorf
from Phoenix Learning Resources
\$5.00 (1 in stock)
Algebra To Go
from Great Source
\$32.35 \$17.50 (2 in stock)
Algebra Unplugged
by Jim Loats, Kenn Amdahl
1st edition
\$4.50 (1 in stock)
Applying Algebra
by J. L. McCabe
from Garlic Press
\$5.50 (3 in stock)
BJU Algebra 1 - Home School Kit
3rd edition from Bob Jones University Press
BJU Algebra 2 - Home School Kit
2nd edition from Bob Jones University Press
\$145.93
BJU Pre-Algebra - Home School Kit
2nd edition from Bob Jones University Press
\$130.63
CLEP Professor for College Algebra
by David Shormann
from DIVE, LLC
\$40.00
Cliffs Math Review for Standardized Tests
by Jerry Bobrow
1st edition from Cliffs Notes
\$4.00 (1 in stock)
Cliffs Quick Review: Algebra I
by Jerry Bobrow
1st edition from Cliffs Notes
\$3.00 (1 in stock)
CliffsNotes Algebra I
by Jerry Bobrow
1st edition from Cliffs Notes
\$4.50 (1 in stock)
College Algebra with Trigonometry
by Karl Byln
7 Sub from McGraw-Hill
\$25.00 (1 in stock)
E-Z Algebra
by Douglas Downing
5th edition from Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
\$16.99
Elementary Algebra
by Harold Jacobs
from W. H. Freeman and Company
Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks
\$93.99
Elementary Algebra - DVD
by Cassidy Cash
\$108.00
Elementary Algebra - Solutions Manual
by Harold Jacobs & Cassidy Cash
\$33.95
Elementary Algebra - Teacher Guide
by Harold Jacobs
from W. H. Freeman and Company
Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks
\$35.00 \$24.00 (2 in stock)
Elementary Algebra - Test Masters
by Harold Jacobs
from W. H. Freeman and Company
Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks
\$37.95
Exploring Algebra and Pre-Algebra with Manipulatives
by Don Balka
from Didax Educational Resources
\$6.50 (1 in stock)
Expressions Wrap-Up Keys
from Learning Wrap-Ups
\$9.99
Forgotten Algebra
by Barbara Lee, Ph.D. Bleau
from Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
\$9.00 (1 in stock)
Great Courses Algebra I
Great Courses
by The Teaching Company
from The Teaching Company
\$15.00 (1 in stock)
Great Courses Algebra II
Great Courses
by Murray Siegel
\$20.00 (1 in stock)
Hands-On Algebra
by Frances McBroom Thompson Ed.D.
1st edition from Jossey-Bass
\$18.00 (1 in stock)
Harold Jacobs Elementary Algebra - DVD Package
How to Solve Algebra Word Problems
by William A. Nardi
4th edition from Harcourt Children's Books
\$4.50 (1 in stock)
How to Solve Word Problems in Algebra
by Mildred Johnson
Updated from McGraw-Hill
\$2.50 (1 in stock)
Key to Algebra - Set
by Julie King & Peter Rasmussen
from Key Curriculum Press
\$35.60
Key to Algebra 1
by Julie King & Peter Rasmussen
from Key Curriculum Press
\$3.95
Key to Algebra 1-10 - Reproducible Tests
by Julie King & Peter Rasmussen
from Key Curriculum Press
\$15.95
Key to Algebra 1-4 - Answers and Notes
by Julie King & Peter Rasmussen
from Key Curriculum Press