This is an image of a building undergoing construction.

Figure 1.1 In order to be structurally sound, the foundation of a building must be carefully constructed.

Just like a building needs a firm foundation to support it, your study of algebra needs to have a firm foundation. To ensure this, we begin this book with a review of arithmetic operations with whole numbers, integers, fractions, and decimals, so that you have a solid base that will support your study of algebra.