Foundations of Algebra

by Lynn Marecek and MaryAnne Anthony-Smith

Hi!  We are excited to introduce Foundations of Algebra to you!

We wrote the Foundations of Algebra manuscript for the Prealgebra classes at Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon Colleges.  It was used for nearly ten years and provided students with a bridge between arithmetic and beginning algebra.  Student understanding of algebraic concepts was supported through the use of manipulative activities called Manipulative Mathematics.  Students’ literacy in written English and fluency with mathematical vocabulary were addressed through Links to Literacy activities. And every lesson in Foundations of Algebra included a pro-active study skills activity, which we called Strategies for Success.

Our Foundations of Algebra manuscript evolved into three textbooks that have been published and are available to teachers and students anywhere.

The mathematics content of  Foundations of Algebra was expanded to become two textbooks, Prealgebra and Elementary Algebra, published by OpenStax.  Both books maintain our philosophy of fostering conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of manipulatives.  Working on her own, Lynn went on to author Intermediate Algebra, which has also been published by OpenStax. The texts can be read online or downloaded at no cost from

Strategies for Success: Study Skills for the College Math Student,  is available from Pearson Higher Education in workbook or electronic format.

The Manipulative Mathematics or Links to Literacy links on the menu bar above take you to pages with more information about, and samples of, these unique features we included in Foundations of Algebra.  We invite you to use them with your students!


19 responses to Foundations of Algebra

  1. Alvin C. Banal

    Good day! I just want to ask if you have something for operations on polynomials? Thanks a lot.

    • MaryAnne

      We don’t have any activities for operations on polynomials. We’ve found that if students have a firm understanding of operations with integers, they find operations on polynomials to be fairly straight-forward.

  2. Richard Mensah

    pls, help me with teaching multiplication of signed numbers. i have enjoyed the other lessons.

    • MaryAnne

      We do multiplication of signed numbers by looking for the patterns in addition of signed numbers. The Signed Number packet on our Manipulative Mathematics page should help you.

  3. Rachel G

    I’ve heard good things about Manipulative Mathematics. I’m a math instructional coach and would love to take a look at some of the activities for possible use on my campus. Could I get the password please?

  4. Karen Budd

    Is this the site that has the modules? If so, may I have the password? Thank you!

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