BEGINNING ALGEBRA: CONNECTING CONCEPTS THROUGH APPLICATIONS shows students how to apply traditional mathematical skills in real-world contexts. The emphasis on skill building and applications engages students as they master algebraic concepts, problem solving, and communication skills. Students learn how to solve problems generated from realistic applications, instead of learning techniques without conceptual understanding. The authors have developed several key ideas to make concepts real and vivid for students. First, they emphasize strong algebra skills. These skills support the applications and enhance student comprehension. Second, the authors integrate applications, drawing on realistic data to show students why they need to know and how to apply math. The applications help students develop the skills needed to explain the meaning of answers in the context of the application. Third, the authors develop key concepts as students progress through the course. For example, the distributive property is introduced in real numbers, covered when students are learning how to multiply a polynomial by a constant, and finally when students learn how to multiply a polynomial by a monomial. These concepts are reinforced through applications in the text. Last, the authors' approach prepares students for intermediate algebra by including an introduction to material such as functions and interval notation as well as the last chapter that covers linear and quadratic modeling.