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In this section students will:
  • Classify a real number as a natural, whole, integer, rational, or irrational number.
  • Perform calculations using order of operations.
  • Use the following properties of real numbers: commutative, associative, distributive, inverse, and identity.
  • Evaluate algebraic expressions.
  • Simplify algebraic expressions.

It is often said that mathematics is the language of science. If this is true, then an essential part of the language of mathematics is numbers. The earliest use of numbers occurred 100 centuries ago in the Middle East to count, or enumerate items. Farmers, cattlemen, and tradesmen used tokens, stones, or markers to signify a single quantity—a sheaf of grain, a head of livestock, or a fixed length of cloth, for example. Doing so made commerce possible, leading to improved communications and the spread of civilization.

Three to four thousand years ago, Egyptians introduced fractions. They first used them to show reciprocals. Later, they used them to represent the amount when a quantity was divided into equal parts.

But what if there were no cattle to trade or an entire crop of grain was lost in a flood? How could someone indicate the existence of nothing? From earliest times, people had thought of a “base state” while counting and used various symbols to represent this null condition. However, it was not until about the fifth century A.D. in India that zero was added to the number system and used as a numeral in calculations.

Clearly, there was also a need for numbers to represent loss or debt. In India, in the seventh century A.D., negative numbers were used as solutions to mathematical equations and commercial debts. The opposites of the counting numbers expanded the number system even further.

Because of the evolution of the number system, we can now perform complex calculations using these and other categories of real numbers. In this section, we will explore sets of numbers, calculations with different kinds of numbers, and the use of numbers in expressions.

Classifying a real number

The numbers we use for counting, or enumerating items, are the natural numbers    : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. We describe them in set notation as { 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } where the ellipsis (…) indicates that the numbers continue to infinity. The natural numbers are, of course, also called the counting numbers . Any time we enumerate the members of a team, count the coins in a collection, or tally the trees in a grove, we are using the set of natural numbers. The set of whole numbers    is the set of natural numbers plus zero: { 0 , 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } .

The set of integers    adds the opposites of the natural numbers to the set of whole numbers: { ... , −3 , −2 , −1 , 0 , 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } . It is useful to note that the set of integers is made up of three distinct subsets: negative integers, zero, and positive integers. In this sense, the positive integers are just the natural numbers. Another way to think about it is that the natural numbers are a subset of the integers.

, −3 , −2 , −1 , negative integers 0 , zero 1 , 2 , 3 , positive integers

Questions & Answers

if sin15°=√p, express the following in terms of p
Norman Reply
prove sin²x+cos²x=3+cos4x
Kiddy Reply
the difference between two signed numbers is -8.if the minued is 5,what is the subtrahend
jeramie Reply
the difference between two signed numbers is -8.if the minuend is 5.what is the subtrahend
jeramie
what are odd numbers
micheal Reply
numbers that leave a remainder when divided by 2
Thorben
1,3,5,7,... 99,...867
Thorben
7%2=1, 679%2=1, 866245%2=1
Thorben
the third and the seventh terms of a G.P are 81 and 16, find the first and fifth terms.
Suleiman Reply
if a=3, b =4 and c=5 find the six trigonometric value sin
Martin Reply
ask
Ans
pls how do I factorize x⁴+x³-7x²-x+6=0
Gift Reply
in a function the input value is called
Rimsha Reply
how do I test for values on the number line
Modesta Reply
if a=4 b=4 then a+b=
Rimsha Reply
a+b+2ab
Kin
commulative principle
DIOSDADO
a+b= 4+4=8
Mimi
If a=4 and b=4 then we add the value of a and b i.e a+b=4+4=8.
Tariq
what are examples of natural number
sani Reply
an equation for the line that goes through the point (-1,12) and has a slope of 2,3
Katheryn Reply
3y=-9x+25
Ishaq
show that the set of natural numberdoes not from agroup with addition or multiplication butit forms aseni group with respect toaaddition as well as multiplication
Komal Reply
x^20+x^15+x^10+x^5/x^2+1
Urmila Reply
evaluate each algebraic expression. 2x+×_2 if ×=5
Sarch Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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