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Are exponential growth & decay models essential in Algebra I?

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Our book (McDougal Littell Algebra I 2001) seems almost too in depth to me.   It covers some topics that are not familiar to me, especially in an Algebra I course such as exponential growth & decay models.  These are 2 different lessons within an otherwise normal chapter on exponents.  (I find it strange that the exponent chapter isn't earlier than chapter 8, but I digress).  I am not mathy enough to feel confident knowing what it is okay to skip.  I don't want to skip anything foundational that he will need to build on later.  This book is really bogging us down, mostly because of these "side topics" but too late to switch.  How do I determine what is essential and what is a "side topic" that is okay to skip?

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I would probably include it, but I haven't done that topic yet with my ds.  The middle school he will attend includes that topic in alg 1 and in fact uses that McDougal Littell text, albeit the 2006 version, I think (overall, I can't say I'm impressed with the text, though I just got it to have a look at the topic coverage - we are using something else).  I haven't compared other algebra texts with regard to the coverage of that particular topic yet, so I'm listening in here...

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I've got several algebra 1/beginning algebra books on my shelf (partly because I'm a curriculum junkie and partly because I wasn't sure what I would need to do to satisfy the requirements of our charter school).


CGP California Algebra 1 does not include it.

Lial's Beginning Algebra 10e does not include it.

Larson's Elementary Algebra 4e does not include it.

Thomasson's & Pesut's Experiencing Introductory Algebra does not include it.

Singapore Discovering Mathematics 8 does not include it (the S&S lists it in DM 3, which is the 9th grade book)


So my vote would be that it's fine to leave that particular topic to Algebra 2.

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This will be covered again in precalculus and probably in algebra 2. I do not consider it necessary for algebra 1, nor, honestly, do I consider it desirable except as an enrichment topic for students who need more challenge. 


ETA: This algebra book has the strangest, strangest order I have ever seen. Quadratics before teaching adding and subtracting polynomials? Quadratics before radicals? 

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