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What is Algebra?

The term Algebra is Midieval Latin from the Arabic al-jabr, meaning "the reduction." More usually used, Algebra is the branch of math that uses letters to represent numbers, and those numbers are unknown and must be determined.

If you take a deeper look at Algebra, you can see that it is one of the most useful subjects not only from a mathematics standpoint, but a daily living viewpoint as well. As a matter of fact, you're probably already accustomed to Algebra-like situations.

Consider this statement:
"If I have enough money I'm going to buy an XBox and an extra game!"

What makes this special? You can convert it into an Algebra equation! (An algebra equation is just a math problem written down.)

If you have $350, and the extra game you want is $50, here is the equation (assuming you aren't sure how much the XBox costs):
X + 50 = 350

Note: There are several ways you could write the same equation. As written above, it could be similar to saying "If the XBox plus the $50 game is equal to $350, then I can get them both." Of course, that's not perfect, since if they cost less than $350 you can still get them, but you get the idea.

Have you heard the phrase "There are too many variables...?" That simply means that there are too many things that are not know (X, for example) to come up with a reasonable answer.

Next up, using the Order of Operations.

Find another math lesson at the Math Lesson and Tutorial Center!


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