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The Algebra Toolbox

Part One Basic Operations

Written by: Rick Bowman, BSc, MEd. M.A.C.E. Tel (07) 3256 2033 PO Box 548 Lutwyche Qld 4030

The Algebra Toolbox
Contents Section
1. Mastering Minuses

Topics
a. Multiplication, division b. Addition, subtraction c. Signs side by side d. Cut ‘n’ paste e. Combinations a. Adding, subtracting with like terms b. Cut ‘n’ paste with algebra c. Multiplying with algebra d. Order of Operations e. Power notation f. Multiplying with powers a. Expanding – 1 pair of brackets b. Expanding & simplifying 2 or more pairs of brackets c. Factorising d. Expanding - binomials a. Introduction b. Cut ‘n’ Paste – Numbers c. Cut ‘n’ Paste – Algebra d. Multiply, divide - numbers e. Multiply, divide - Algebra f. Advanced equations

Page
2 6 9 11 12 13 21 23 25 26 28 30 34 36 39 41 43 45 52 55 60

2. Moving into Algebra

3. Brackets in Algebra

4. Solving equations

1. MASTERING MINUSES
Skill in working with positive and negative numbers is important to be able to do algebra. Negatives (or “minuses”) create many headaches for students. Often my students ask me, quite bewildered, “Don’t two minuses make a plus?”. A fair question!! Read on…. The answer to this depends on which of these 2 categories the question is in: (a) Multiplication & division (b) Addition & subtraction

(a) MULTIPLICATION & DIVISION
This is the easier of the two categories to understand. 3 simple rules.

Rule 1: Two pluses make a plus!
These are the sums you have been doing since Year 1!!

+2 × +3 = +6

+6 ÷ +3 = +2

4 × 3 = 12 simply means (+4) × (+3) = +12 6 ÷ 2 = 3 or
6 = 3 simply means (+6) ÷ (+2) = +3 2

These should bring back happy memories from early childhood!!

Remember: 4 and +4 are the SAME THING!!

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Now we look at what happens when we multiply or divide two minuses (negatives):

Rule 2: Two minuses make a plus! –2 ×
So –3 × –5 = +15 –2 × –8 = +16 –4 × –6 = 24

–3 = +6

–8 ÷ –2 = +4
–20 ÷ –10 = 2
−8 = 4 etc!!! −2

So in these cases, 2 minuses DO make a plus!!

But what if there’s one of each?

Rule 3: When multiplying or dividing, one of each makes a minus! – 4 × +5 = –20 and –20
– 3 × +9 = – 27 +5 × –6 = –30 8 × –4 = –32 –6 × 2 = –12 –3 × –4 ÷ –2 = 12 ÷ –2 = –6
(First we do the –3 × –4 to get the 12 !)

÷

+5 = –4

This means that one of each (a minus and a plus, any order) gives a minus!! –40 ÷ +5 = –8 33 ÷ –11 = –3
72 = −9 −8 − 54 = −6 9

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Remember that 6 6 ÷ 3 and are 3 the same thing! Both equal 2.  2003 R Bowman. All rights reserved The Algebra Toolbox.

Practice Exercises 1 (Try to do without a calculator!):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4×7= 20 ÷ 2 = –3 × –4 = 20 ÷ –5 = 8 × –6 = –16 ÷ –2 = 9 × –7 = –35 ÷ –5 = 60 × –1 = –30 ÷ –5 = 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 16 ÷ –4 = –9 × –9 –45 ÷ –9 8 × –3 = 55 ÷ –5 –3 × –4 × –5 = 20 ÷ –4 ÷ –1 = 7 × –5 × –1 = 6 × –4 ÷ –12 = –12 ÷ –3 × 2 =

Click here for answers!

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(b) ADDITION & SUBTRACTION
And the good news is…. Some of this you have been doing since Year One!! 8 + 7 = 15. Same thing as +8 + 7 = +15 6 – 2 = 4. Same thing as +6 – 2 = +4 You’ve also done harder ones like this, where we work from left to right one step at a time (or better still get your calculator to do it!): 8+5–2–4+7 = 13 – 2 – 4 + 7 = 11 – 4 + 7 =7+7 = 14 Try: 13 – 2 + 5 – 8 – 4 + 6 Did you get 10 ? Hope so!!

First doing the 8 + 5 to get 13 Then doing the 13 – 2 to get 11 Then doing 11 – 4 to get 7

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But what about
(1) 6 – 9? (2) – 3 – 7? (3) – 4 + 5? (4) – 8 + 3? I think the best way to tackle these (without a calculator) is using temperatures.
If the temperature is 12°, and goes down by 15°, the new temperature will be – 3 ° ! This is represented mathematically by 12 – 15 = – 3 (THINK: down is minus) If the temperature is – 5°, and goes down a further 6°, the new temperature is – 11°. This is represented mathematically by – 5 – 6 = – 11 (THINK: down is minus) If the temperature is –3°, and goes up by 8°, the new temperature will be +5°, or simply 5°. This is represented mathematically by – 3 + 8 = + 5 (THINK: up is plus)

So take Question 1: 6 – 9 = ……?
Think: Temperature starts out at + 6 (6 above zero) and goes down 9 ( – 9 means down 9). What is the new temperature? (Count down 9 spaces beginning at + 6: (5,4,3,2,1,0,-1,-2,-3)

Answer is – 3 !! Question 2: –3–7=?

ANS IS WHERE YOU END UP! – 3.

Think: Temperature starts at –3 and drops 7. New temperature? Begin at –3 & count down 7 spaces. End up –10. (-4,-5,-6,-7,-8,-9,-10)

Answer is – 10 !!

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Question 3: –4+5=?

Think: Temperature starts at –4 and goes up 5. New temperature? Begin at –4 & count up 5 spaces (-3,-2,-1,0,+1)

Answer is +1 ! Question 4: –8+3=?

Think: Temperature starts at –8 and goes up 3. New temperature? Counting up: (-7,-6,-5)

Answer is –5.

Let’s test your skill!! Calculate
(a) – 3 + 8. Begin at – 3. Count UP 8 spaces: ANSWER IS 5. (b) 2 – 5 + 3 – 8 – 4. Working left to right one step at a time, 2– 5 + 3 – 8 – 4 = –3+3–8–4 = 0–8–4 = –8–4 = – 12 -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

(2–5=–3) ( – 3 + 3 = 0) (0–8=–8)

If using temperatures: Begin at +2. Down 5. Up 3. Down 8. Down 4. End up at –12!

Rule 4: When working with addition and subtraction of positives and negatives, use temperatures!

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(c) WHEN SIGNS ARE SIDE BY SIDE
Occasionally you might get situations where you have two signs side by side. These are easy!

Two minuses side by side make a plus.
This is the other occasion when two minus make a plus!

2– –3 = 2 + 3 = 5. There might be brackets. 2 – ( – 3). Do the same thing as above. =2+3=5

One of each side by side: + – or – + makes a minus
2+ –7 = 2 – 7 = – 5 (using our temperature method!) 1–+3 = 1 – 3 = – 2 (temperatures again) – 4 – (+ 5) = – 4 – 5 = – 9 (Yep. temperatures again!)

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Practice Exercises 2: Use notes on Parts (b) and (c). Try to do without a calculator!
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4+7= 20 – 2 = –3 – 4 = 20 – (–5) = –8 – 6 = –16 + 12 = –2 – 7 = 5 – 15 = –3 + 8 = 10 – 15 = 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 16 + –4 = –9 + (–9) = –4 – 9 2 – 13 = –11 + 5 = –3 – 4 – 5 = 3 – 4 + 11 = 9–5+3–8 = – 6 + 4 + 12 – 20 = –12 – 3 + 2 – 5 =

Click here for answers!

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(d) A USEFUL TRICK – CUT ‘N’ PASTE
Did you know that in addition and subtraction sums, you can “cut ‘n’ paste” things? For example, – 5 + 8 can be rewritten by “cutting” the + 8 and “pasting” it in front of the – 5. So, – 5 +8 = +8 – 5 =8–5 =3
The +8 can be “cut” from the end and “pasted” in front of the –5. This is a legal step in any expression with + and – but cannot be done with × or ÷

Let’s try cut’n’paste in a harder question: There are 5 terms in the expression 2 – 8 + 3 – 5 + 10. Any of these can be cut’n’pasted to anywhere else in the expression. Only one thing to remember, and that’s to keep each sign (+ or -) with the number that comes after it. A good way is to rewrite the original sum with spaces in front of each – and + sign…..like this: +2 –8 +3 –5 + 10.
We can cut ‘n’ paste terms to wherever we like, but usually it’s to get all the “+” terms together (the +2, +3 and +10) and all the “–“ together (– 8 & – 5) . (Here we cut the +3 and +10 and pasted them straight after the +2) The –8 and –5 are automatically pushed to the end. Later in Algebra we cut ‘n’ paste to get terms with the same letters together.

= +2 +3
These make 15

+10

– 8 – 5.
Now just work left to right:

These make -13

= 15 – 13 = 2 !!
Cut ‘n’ pasting is a handy skill to know, especially when we are using algebra!!

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(e) COMBINATIONS OF +, – , ×, ÷
In primary school you learned (maybe??) that there is an ORDER OF OPERATIONS that has to be observed. It goes something like this: Brackets get done first Then come × and ÷ , working your way left to right Finally comes + and – , again left to right. A bit of a mystery? Here’s a couple of examples: (1) Work out – 5 × 3 – 12 ÷ – 2 + 10 ÷ – 5. The process: – 5 × 3 – 12 ÷ – 2 + 10 ÷ – 5
No brackets, so pick out the x and ÷ and do first. We’ll bracket them to show they must be done first! Insert an opening bracket right in front of each of the 5, the 12 and the 10 (because they’re the numbers followed by x and ÷ signs).

= – (5 × 3) – (12 ÷ – 2) + (10 ÷ – 5)

Now work these out using the rules for x and ÷

=

– 15

–6

+

–2

Now fix the double minus in front of the 6. This gives a “+”. Fix the + – in front of the 2 to give a “–“

=

– 15

+6

–2
Now it’s only + and – signs left, we work left to right

= =

–9 – 11

–2

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2. MOVING INTO ALGEBRA
(a) ADDING & SUBTRACTING
(THIS ONLY WORKS WITH “LIKE” TERMS)

First the good news!! The rules governing algebra are exactly the same as those governing numbers! After all, the letters merely represent numbers!

Like and unlike terms – no longer a mystery!
Like terms are “mates” or “look-alikes” . They have the same letters (and powers if they are there). 5ab and 6ab are like terms. But 5a and 6ab are not! Neither are 5a and 6a2. 5 and 6 are like terms. 2ab and 3ba are like terms. 3abc and -2bca are like terms. 5at and – 3at and – ta are all like terms. Remember that 3ab means 3 × a × b and that 3ba means 3 × b × a, and these are the same!!

because 3 × 5 × 6 = 3 × 6 × 5 !!!
Here’s a batch of 20 algebraic terms
5x 3a -2b ab2 6 7ab 9t -y 4ba 8 5a2 6a2 5a3 6b 2t –a x 7b2a 2a3 8y

Can you put them into pairs of like terms? (like the “x” pair) 5x x 3a –a –2b 6b ab2 7b2a 6 8 7ab 4ba 9t 2t –y 8y 5a2 6a2 5a3 2a3

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The key point is that only pairs of like terms can be added or subtracted! Why is it so? Why can only like terms be added or subtracted? Read on….. Do you agree that 20 + 15= 35? YES!!!! This can be rewritten as 4 × 5 + 3× 5 = 7× 5

Now the number that reoccurs HERE is a “5” but it can be anything. Maybe 8? 4× 8 + 3× 8 = 7× 8 Is this true? 32 YES!!!! The two boxed statements have “5” and “8” being repeated. There must be a more convenient way of writing this rule so it applies to all numbers, not just 5 and 8. We can write 4× a + 3×a = 7×a or 4a + 3a = 7a “a” can be any number you like. + 24 = 56

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And…..
We don’t have to stick with the “4”, “3” and “7” either! Try making up other rules like 6a + 4a = 10a or 9b – 5b = 4b.

Like terms can be added and subtracted
Now make “a” some number. Say 7. Substitute it in and see if it works. Does 6 × 7 + 4 × 7 = 10 × 7 ?? Now try replacing the “b” in the other box. (Let’s make b something weird like 3½ - just for fun!). Does 9 × 3½ – 5 × 3½ = 4 × 3½?? [Use your calculator!!]

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Now…..
So far we’ve only looked at “like” terms. 6a + 4a = 10a 9b – 5b = 4b etc.

What about 7a + 4b ??
Is there a shorter answer for this?? Remember a and b can be replaced with any numbers. So let’s make a equal to 3 b equal to 5 so 7a will be 21, and 4b will be 20 This means 7a + 4b = 21 + 20 = 41. I can’t think of anything that 41 is equal to (involving a “×” sign) So to cut a long story short, there is no easy way of writing 7a + 4b, other than 7a + 4b!

7a + 4b = 7a + 4b!! Unlike terms can’t be added or subtracted
So in summary

Like terms can be added and subtracted Unlike terms cannot!!

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The good news is you can use temperatures when adding and subtracting with like terms, just like we were doing earlier with numbers! Some examples: 5a + 8a = 13a 2p – 9p = – 7p – 8p + 11p = 3p or +3p 2x – 5y = 2x – 5y.
It stays the same!! (because x and y are unlike)

2a2 + 5a = 2a2 + 5a (because a2 and a are unlike they can’t be added) 5ab + 3ba = 8ab (remember ab and ba are like terms so can be added!)

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Remember ….. “a” simply means “1a” so 5a + a really means 5a + 1a which equals 6a!!

Oops..Nearly forgot…. 5ab and 5ba are the same thing. So 2ab + 5ba = 7ab!

And another thing….. when adding or subtracting powers the powers and the letters have to be the same before you can do it! 2a3 + 5a3 = 7a3 but 2a3 + 5a4 stays the same! AND DON’T CHANGE THE POWERS EITHER!!

I always thought 5a3 + 2a3 = 7a6.

Arrrgh!! This is WRONG!! What should it be?? [Correct ans: 7a3]

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Practice Exercises 3:
Which of these questions can be done? (The ones where the terms are “like”) Which ones can’t? (They’re the ones where the terms are different).
Remember x and y are unlike and cannot be added or subtracted. a and a2 are unlike, and cannot be added or subtracted ab and ba are like, and can be added or subtracted. You’ll need to pick out the “like” terms before you can add or subtract. First revise your work on negative numbers earlier in the book. Click here for answers! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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3a + 7a = 2a – 9a = a + 8a = t – 4t = 6ab + 7ab = 2ay – 9ya = 3a + 7b = 2a – 5ab = 6a + 8 = ab + 9ba = 3wx – 2xw = 6a2 – 3a = 6a2 – 5a2 = ab + ab = ab – ab = 2xy – 5yx = 2x – 3x2 = 4ab – 4 = 4ab – 4a = 4ab – 4a2 =

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

8a + 2ab = 7rs – 9sr = 7rs – 9sr2 = 7rs – 7r = 7rs – 7s = 7r – 7s = 7r – 7 = – 2ab + 8ab = 2y – 9y = – 6abc – 7 abc = – 6abc + 3bca = 8a – 2b – 3c = 4a + 5a – 9b = 2p + 5 + 6 = 3a – 7 – 8 = a2 + 10a2 = 5a3 – 2a3 = 6a2 + 3a3 = 6a4 + a4 = a – 2a5 =

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Remember good ol’ cut ‘n’ paste??
Remember how we’re allowed to write – 5 + 8 as +8 – 3 (or just 8 – 3) by cutting the +8 and pasting it in front of the –5? Remember we’re also allowed to rewrite longer things like –6 + 3 – 2 in many different ways. Instead of –6 + 3 –2, we could have written it as –6 –2 + 3 or +3 –6 –2 or +3 –2 –6 or –2 + 3 –6 or –2 –6 + 3 All these are the same sum!! They all give an answer of –5 !!

Cut ‘n’ paste is soooo handy! To do it correctly, all you have to remember is to keep each sign with the number following it! E.g. in –5 + 8 when you cut ‘n’ paste, the – stays with the 5 and the + stays with the 8. So –5 + 8 can become +8 – 5, or just 8 – 5, which is 3!!

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(b) CUT ‘N’ PASTE: ADDING AND SUBTRACTING WITH ALGEBRA
Ever been put off by questions like:

Simplify 5a – 2b + a – 3b ???
This causes headaches for many a Year 8 or 9 or 10 or…? Then worry no more!!! – we use cut ‘n’ paste!! Here’s the process:

5a – 2b + a – 3b = 5a –2b +a – 3b = 5a +a –2b –3b = 6a – 5b
First step: split it up with a space in front of each + and - sign Second step: cut ‘n’ paste the ‘+a’ to put it next to its mate (5a) Final step: do the like terms: 5a + a = 6a and – 2b – 3b = – 5b

Answer 6a – 5b !! Another one?? Yes!!

Simplify –b – 3a + 2b + a – ab – 6b + 5ba
The process: –b – 3a + 2b + a – ab – 6b + 5ba = –b = –b = –3a +2b +2b –5b –6b +a –ab –3a +a –2a –6b +5ba –ab +5ab +4ab
Step 0: Groan! Step 1: split up with spaces Step 2: cut ‘n’ paste to get like terms (b, a, ab) together Step 3: simplify the like terms

Answer is –5b – 2a + 4ab or 4ab – 5b – 2a or any other arrangement!
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Practice Exercises 4:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3a + 5b + 4a + 3b = 7a + 2b – 3a – b = 4x + 2y – 6x + 5y = 6a – 2b + a – 5b = a + b – 5a + 7b = 2a + 3 – 4a + 6 = a – 5b – 2a – 9b = 3ab – 2a + 8a + 5ba = xy + 3x – xy – 2x = 4a + b – 2ab – b – 4a = 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 7 – 7a + 3 + 10a = –w + 5t – w – 9t = yz + 3y – 5zy – y = 2a – 2 + 3a – 7 = 4ab + a – 3b + 7b – a – 2ab 3a + 5a2 – 7a – a2 = 3 + 3a – 5a – a2 = 4ab – 2a2 – ba + 5a2 = 3a + 3ab + 3b + 3ba = k2 – 5k3 + 2k3 + k2 =

Click here for answers!

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(c) MULTIPLYING with ALGEBRA
This is easier than addition & subtraction for two main reasons: You don’t have to worry about like terms. You can always multiply any terms together
First revise the 3 multiplication rules involving negative numbers: 1. Two positives make a positive. 7 × 8 = 56 2. Two negatives make a positive. – 7 × – 8 = 56 3. One of each makes a negative. – 7 × 8 = –56 or 7 × – 8 = – 56

Now you’re ready for action!!
First you’ll need some basic tools: a × b = ab b × a = ab c × b × a = abc a × a = aa or a2 a × a × a = aaa or a3 a × a × b = aab or a2b a × b × b = abb or ab2 a × 2 = a2 (but 2a is better) a × 2 × b = 2ab a × 3 × 4 = 12a a × 2 × 4 × b = 12ab a × 3 × a × –5 × b = –15aab or –15a2b
THINK: Numbers are 3 × -5 = -15. Letters are a × a × b = a2b. Combine together to get –15a2b Numbers go in front of letters! Numbers are multiplied on their own, letters on their own! Usually we write answers in alphabetical order!

Powers (indices) save repeating letters!

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2a × 5b = 10ab

This is the same as if the sum read 2 × a × 5 × b. This is the same as – 3 × a × 5 × c The quick way is to multiply all the numbers together, and then all the letters: 4 × 2 × 5 = 40, and a × b × a × c = a2bc

–3a × 5c = – 15ac

4a × 2b × a × 5c = 40aabc = 40a2bc

Ready to try some?? Remember you can always do multiplication & don’t have to worry about like terms as you do in addition & subtraction

Practice Exercises 5:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 x×y×z= 2×a×3= -3 × b × 5 = 2×a×4×c= 3×a×b×2×c= 4×2×a×b= 4×5×x×x= -2 × -a × b = -3 × a × -4 × a = 2×a×3×b×a= 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2a × 5b = 3a × - 7b × 2 = 4a × 3 × 2b = a × 2a × b × 4b = -3a × 2a × 5 × a = -a × 2a × 3a × -3 = 2ab × 3ab × 2a = 4ab × 3abc × -2c = abc × abc × abc = -3ab × -2abc × -5ac =

Click here for answers Phew! Multiplication is so much easier because you can always do it. Not like adding and subtracting where you have to make sure you have like terms before you can do it!

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(d) ORDER OF OPERATIONS
Multiplication must be done before you do addition or subtraction Now we’ll apply this to algebra! Example 1: Simplify 8ab + 2a × 3b Process: 8ab + 2a × 3b = 8ab + 6ab

Remember we do the × first. 2a × 3b = 6ab Think: Can I add the 8ab and 6ab? YES!!

= 14ab

Can add 8ab and 6ab as they’re like terms!

Example 2: Simplify 4a × 5ab – 3 × 2ab × 2a Process: (4a × 5ab) – (3 × 2ab × 2a) Doing the multiplications first = 20a2b – 12a2b
Think: Can I subtract these? YES!! (Because they’re both a2b and so like terms!)

= 8a2b Example 3: Simplify 10ab2 – 5a × 3b Process: 10ab2 – 5a × 3b = 10ab2 – 15ab

Doing the multiplication first Think: Can I subtract these? NO!! (ab2 and ab are not like terms)

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(e) POWER NOTATION FOR MULTIPLICATION
Often you come across multiplications where the same term is repeated. There is a “shorthand” way of writing these. We already know that a × a = a2 and b × b × b = b3 and so on. This can be extended to bigger things being repeated: Examples ab × ab can be written as (ab)2. The brackets simply mean that everything inside them is repeated. yz × yz × yz can be written in shorthand as ……..?? Did you get (yz)3 ? You’d be right!!! Of course it can also be written as y3z3. What do you think (2a)3 would be if we wrote it the long way? (2a)3 = 2a × 2a × 2a which can then become 8a3. What about ( –6ab)2? (–6ab)2 = – 6ab × – 6ab = +36a2b2 Can you rewrite (– 3ab)4 in longer notation? – 3ab × – 3ab × – 3ab × – 3ab. This becomes +81a4b4

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More examples Write these in expanded notation and then simplify. (ab)3 = ab × ab × ab = a3b3 (–3ab)2 = –3ab × –3ab = 9a2b2 (–2t)3 = –2t × –2t × –2t = –8t3 (ab)2 × (-3a)3 = ab × ab × –3a × –3a × –3a = –27a5b2 Some exercises. Good luck!! Write in expanded (longer) form and then simplify.
(expanded notation) (simplifying)

Practice Exercises 6:
1 2 3 4 5 (5ab)2 = (3ab)3 = (-4a)2 = (-2ab)3 = (-5a)2 + (4a)2 = 6 7 8 9 10 (3a)2 × (2b)2 = (-3a)2 × (5a)2 = (-2ab)4 = (5abc)3 = (ab)5 =

Click here for answers!

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(f) MULTIPLYING WITH POWERS
You’ve probably come across this and it may have caused confusion! Here we meet some new rules, which are just really shortcuts. Examples Simplify a2 × a3. There are two approaches to this: Long way a ×a =a×a × = a5
2 3

a×a×a

Shorter way a × a3 = a2 + 3 (adding powers) = a5
2

In this first example, it doesn’t look like there’s much difference. The shorter way is not that much shorter at all! But read on…..

Simplify a5 × a6. Long way a ×a = a×a ×a×a×a = a11
5 6 × a×a×a×a×a×a

Shorter way a × a6 = a5 + 6 (adding powers) = a11
5

As you can see, once the powers become bigger, the shorter way becomes much shorter!!

When multiplying powers of the same letter, just add the powers !!

au × av = au+v

Must be the SAME LETTER for this to work (Here it’s all “a”s)

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What if there are numbers in front? No problem!
2a3 × 5a4 = 10a7
Using the shorter way (of course!!) You could have written it out the long way, 2 × a × a × a × 5 × a × a × a × a and still obtained the same answer!

3w7 × 5w9 = 15w16 –3c6 × 2c5 = –6 c11

But what if the letters are different?
2a5 × 3b2 means 2 × a × a × a × a × a × 3 × b × b Working this out gives 6aaaaabb, or just 6a5b2 4a2 × 3w6 = 12a2w6 –5a7 × 2j3 = –10a7j3 Now let’s test your memory: What about 3a5 × 2b5 ? This is just 6a5b5, but can you remember another way of writing it? It’s 6(ab)5.
Remember this is an alternative you can use if the powers are the same!

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3. WORKING WITH BRACKETS
(a) EXPANDING (Getting rid of brackets) – 1 pair of brackets.
What do you think is meant by 8 (5 + 3) ? This can be done two ways: The obvious way 8(5 + 3) = 8 × (5 + 3) = 8 × 8 = 64 A longer (but more important!) way 8(5 + 3) = 8 × (5 + 3) =8×5 + 8×3 = 40 + 24 = 64
Vital step! The 8 multiplies the numbers inside the brackets one at a time!

Now try this with an x instead of the 5, using our two ways above: The obvious way
8(x + 3) = 8 × (x + 3) and we can’t go any further because we can’t add the x and the 3 Remember they’re unlike terms and we’re not allowed to add unlike terms!) The “obvious” way has its limitations because it will only work with numbers.

The longer way
8(x + 3) = 8 × (x + 3) =8×x + 8×3 = 8x + 24 This way is important! When we’re dealing with algebra, we can use this method to get further than we could using the method on the left


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Some more examples……. Example 1 4(x – 5) =4×x – 4×5 = 4x – 20 Example 2 3(a + 2b + 7) = 3 × a + 3 × 2b + 3 × 7 = 3a + 6b + 21 Example 3 2y(5y – 4) = 10yy – 8y = 10y2 – 8y

Note the 4 repeats

Note the 3 repeats

Note the 2y repeats

but what if there’s a negative number in front of the brackets??? –3 (4 + 5) The obvious way –3 (4 + 5) = – 3 × (4 + 5) = –3× 9 = – 27 The longer way – 3 (4 + 5) = –3×4 + –3×5 = – 12 + – 15 = – 12 = – 27 – 15
Remember when we have a “+ –“ together, they just make a “ –“

Watch these steps closely! The “ – 3” multiplies both the 4 and the 5. The + carries down

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What if there’s algebra?
Example 4 Expand – 5 (2a – 3b) = – 5 × (2a – 3b)
The “ – 5” multiplies the 2a and then multiplies the 3b. The minus in the brackets is carried down to the next line (the arrow).

= – 5 × 2a – – 5 × 3b = – 10a + 15b OR 15b – 10a (cutting ‘n’ pasting the 15b to the front) Example 5 Expand – 6 (2a + 3b)

– 6 (2a + 3b)
Can you see what’s happened?

= – 6 × 2a = – 12a = – 12a

+ +

– 6 × 3b – 18b

(Line 2) (Line 3) (Line 4)

The “ – 6” appears twice (Line 2) because it has to multiply both the 2a and the 3b The “+” is carried down from Line 2 to Line 3. The “+ – “ in Line 3 becomes a “–“ in line 4.

– 18b

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Some for you to try! Aim for 10/10 and take your time!!

Practice Exercises 7:
Expand 1 2 3 4 5 3(2a – 5) 4y(3a – 2p) 3a(b – 1) 2a(3a – 7) 5ab(2a + 3b) 6 7 8 9 10 – 4 (a – b) – 3(2a + 1) – x(x + 5) – 2ab(a – 3b) – 4p(y – p + 5t)

Click here for answers

Remember: A negative number multiplying in front of brackets will change every sign inside those brackets. E.g. – a(x + 2y – z + 4) becomes – ax – 2y + az – 4a

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(b) EXPANDING & SIMPLIFYING – 2 or more pairs of brackets.
This is where cut ‘n’ paste is really useful! Example 1 Expand and simplify Answer: 2(a + 3) + 4(2a – 7) = 2a + 6 + 8a – 28 = 2a +6 +8a – 28 = 2a +8a +6 – 28 = 10a – 22 Example 2 Expand and simplify Answer: 5 (2y – 3) – 3 (8 – 4y ) = 10y – 15 – 24 + 12y = 10y + 12y – 15 – 24 = 22y – 39 Example 3 Expand and simplify Answer: – 5b(2b – 3) + 3b (2 – b ) = – 10b2 + 15b + 6b – 3b2 = – 10b2 – 3b2 + 15b + 6b = – 13b2 + 21b or 21b – 13b2
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Why the sign change? See rule. Note the + 12y has come from multiplying – 3 × – 4y. See rule The +12y has been cut ‘n’ pasted then inserted next to its “mate”, An optional step! Spacing helps you see what terms the signs go with so you can cut ‘n’ paste to get like terms

2(a + 3) + 4(2a – 7)

Swapping the +8a and +6 to get like terms next to each other (Yes - we’ve done this before!!)

5 (2y – 3) – 3 (8 – 4y )

– 5b(2b – 3) + 3b (2 – b )

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Important point!!!
By now you might be noticing that a negative number in front of brackets changes any signs inside the brackets to the opposite! – 3 (a + b) = – 3a – 3b – 5 (x – y) = – 5x + 5y (+ becomes – ) (– becomes +)

– 4 (a + b – c) = – 4a – 4b + 4c (+ becomes – and – becomes +)

You can always use this shortcut to do them quickly! Example 4 Expand and simplify 3 – 5p(p + 1) – 4p + 3(2p – 1)

Here there are two “lone” terms, unattached to any brackets: the “3” at the front, and the “– 4p” Lone terms are unaffected by the expanding process. They stay as they are. Answer:
Note the + becomes a – . WHY?? (because the “–“ on the 5p makes the sign 1)inside the brackets change!) Cut ‘n’ pasting like terms together (There’s 3 types of like terms in this question!)

3 – 5p(p + 1) – 4p + 3(2p – = 3 – 5p2 – 5p – 4p + 6p – 3 =3 –3 – 5p2 – 5p – 4p + 6p = 0 – 5 p2 – 3p 2 = – 5p – 3p

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(c) FACTORISING (Making brackets) – 1 pair of brackets
Factorising is the reverse of expanding 2(a + b) = 2a + 2b This is expanding 2a + 2b = 2(a + b) This is factorising

2(a + b)
Example 1 Factorise ab + ac.

Expanding Factorising

2a + 2b

Find what you can see in both terms. The “a” !! Place the “a” in front of brackets like this:

a(

)
Put the sign in

a(

+

)
Now insert the “b” and “c” in the right places to make it equal ab + ac

a ( b + c ). ANSWER!!
Now check by mentally expanding a(b+c). Does a(b + c) give us ab + ac ? It does, so we must be right!

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Example 2 Factorise 2abx – abcd
“ab” is common to both, so write
THINK: If ab x? = 2abx then ? must be 2x
If ab x ? = abcd. then ? must be cd

ab (

)

Now, what has to go with the “ab” to make the first term 2abx? 2x And, what has to go with the “ab” to make the second term abcd? cd

These red terms are now put into the bracket: ab( 2x – cd) . Answer! Example 3 Factorise 4ab – 12abc
What is in common to both terms? a, b and 4 (because 4 divides 4 and 12) So put 4ab in front of the brackets

4ab (

)

What has to multiply “4ab” to make 4ab? 1 What has to multiply “4ab” to make 12abc? 3c These red terms are now put into the bracket:
4 is a better choice than 2, even though both divide 4 and 12. If you have a choice, always pick the biggest number!

4ab (1 – 3c). Answer!

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Example 4 Factorise 20ab + 10a2b
Might be smarter to write this as 20ab + 10aab What’s common to both terms? a, b and 10 (Note 10 is the biggest number that divides into 20 and 10. Don’t use a smaller one like 5, or 2) Always pick the biggest So put 10ab in front of the brackets

10ab (

+

)

What has to go with the “10ab” to make the first term 20ab? 2 What has to go with the “10ab” to make the second term 10aab? a These red terms are now put into the bracket:

10ab (2 + a)

Ready to prove yourself a champion factoriser? Try these….. Practice Exercises 8:
Factorise: 1 2 3 4 5 ac – ay bt + ab ab + ac – 2a 3b + 6c 3ab – 6at 6 7 8 9 10 5ab – 10abc 12abc – 24abcd 3a2 – 9a 18a2 – 12abc 30a2b2c – 20abc

Click here for answers!

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(d) EXPANDING – 2 pairs of brackets together
These are sometimes called binomial products. It works like this: Suppose you were asked to work out (3 + 4) × (5 + 6) The quick ‘n’ easy way (which, sadly, works when there are numbers only) is to do (3 + 4) × (5 + 6) = 7 × 11 = 77. The longer way, which you need to know, is to work it out like this: (3 + 4) × (5 + 6) = 3 (5 + 6) + 4 (5 + 6) = 15 + 18 + 20 + 24 = 77
Learn this step! It will serve you well. The first bracket is broken up and the 2nd bracket is repeated.

Now let’s try this with letters……..
Example 1 Expand (a + b)(c + d) (a + b)(c + d) = a (c + d) + b (c + d) See how the “a+b” has been split up and “c+d” written twice? = ac + ad + bc + bd. (answer) This is where we leave it, because all 4 of these terms are unlike!

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Example 2 Expand (a + 3)(4 – a) (a + 3) (4 – a) = a(4 – a ) + 3( 4 – a ) = 4a – a2 + 12 – 3a = 4a – 3a – a2 +12 = a – a2 + 12 Example 3 Expand (2a – 5)(3a + 1) (2a – 5)(3a + 1) = 2a(3a + 1) – 5 (3a + 1) = 6a2 + 2a – 15a – 5 = 6a2 – 13a – 5
Splitting the first brackets and repeating the 2nd brackets (4 – a) (Cut ‘n’ paste the “–3a” putting it next to “4a”)

Don’t forget the sign change because of the –5

Practice Exercises 9:
Expand and simplify these: 1. (a + 2)(b + 3) 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. (a + 5)(a + 6) (a – 3)(b – 1) (a + 4)(2a + 5) (3a + 4)(2a + 5) (a + 6)(a – 6) 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. (2y – 3)(2y + 5) (y – 6)(y + 6) (3a + 4)(2a – 5) (a + 5)2 (2a + 7)2 (3a – 4)2

Click here for answers

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4. SOLVING EQUATIONS
(a) INTRODUCTION
An equation is either a statement of fact, for example 6+3=9 6 × 3 = 18 9 = 11 – 2 or….. a question where you have to find the value of a letter, for example a + 7 = 10 3a = 9 a/4 = 5 3a – 2 = 7 – a This book deals with the second type, where we have to find values of letters. But first, we need to understand some background which will help you understand the rules and processes involved.

Background
The rules of equations are easiest to understand if we begin by dealing only with numbers. We will then learn how to work with letters. RULE 1 An equation remains true if the same number is added to both sides (of the equals sign), or subtracted from both sides. Example 1 Begin with
41

6+3 = 9

(True?)

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Add 4 to both sides:

6+3+4

=9+4

(Still true. 13 = 13!)

Example 2 Begin with 6+3 = 9 Subtract 2 from both sides 6 + 3 – 2 = 9 – 2 Example 3 Begin with Add 5 to both sides 8–5=3 8–5+5 =3+5

(True?)

(True. 7 = 7 !)

(True. 8 = 8)

Now Subtract 12 from both sides: 8 – 5 + 5 – 12 = 3 + 5 – 12 Now add 7 to both sides: 8 – 5 + 5 – 12 + 7

(True. – 4 = – 4)

= 3 + 5 – 12 + 7

(True?)

Etc etc….. we can add/subtract whatever we like as long as we do the same thing to both sides in the same step. Q: A: What have we learned here? That if we begin with a true statement, then as long as we add or subtract the same number to both sides, it will remain a true statement.

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(b) CUT ‘N’ PASTE TO REWRITE EQUATIONS
Now….. a shortcut alternative to this rule is cut ‘n’ paste. Follow this example: Begin with 10 – 4 = 6 Let’s add 4 to both sides. What happens? 10 – 4 + 4 = 6 + 4 10 = 10. TRUE! Instead, try doing it this way. Again, begin with 10 – 4 = 6. Now, cut the – 4 from the left side and paste it onto the right side as + 4. What happens? 10 – 4 = 6 10 = 6 + 4 10 = 10. TRUE! IMPORTANT! Try to follow this!

Another example: 9 + 5 = 14 Cut ‘n’ paste the + 5 from the left to the right, remembering to change the + sign to a – sign. 9 Example 3 8 + 7 = 15 Cut ‘n’ paste the 8 (which really is a +8) from the left to the right. Remember to change the +8 into a –8. +8 + 7 = 15
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= 14 – 5. True!

+7 = 15 – 8 . True! We’re not restricted to cutting from the left and pasting to the right. We can do it the other way….. Example 4 7 =9–2 Cut the –2 from the right and paste it to the left as +2 7 + 2 = 9. True! Example 5 Here’s a few examples of cut ‘n’ paste using the same numbers. Follow through carefully and make sure you can follow each step: 3 3 3 +4 3 +2 +2 +2 = = = +4 +4 9 – 2 (check this is true) 9 –2 – 4 (True?) 9 –4 (True?) =9 (True?) =9 –3 (True?)

“+4” was cut ‘n’ pasted “-2” was cut ‘n’ pasted “-4” was cut ‘n’ pasted “+3” was cut ‘n’ pasted

Remember 3 is really + 3

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(c) SOLVING EQUATIONS using CUT ‘N’ PASTE
Example 1. Solve x+3=8

Aim: to get “x” alone on one side of the “=” sign, so our answer reads “x = ……” Best method: x + 3 = 8.
To get “x” alone, we need to remove the “+3”. Most sensible way is to cut ‘n’ paste it from the left to the right:

x =8–3
Tidy up the right. 8 – 3 is equal to 5.

x = 5 ANSWER! Example 2. Solve 9 – x = 7 Aim: To get “x” alone on one side, so our answer reads “x = ……” Best method: 9–x=7
To get “x” alone, we need to remove the “9”, remembering it’s really “+9”. Most sensible way is to cut ‘n’ paste it from the left to the right: (blue)

–x=7–9 –x= –2
There’s an unwanted negative sign in front of the x. We have to get rid of it! The quickest way is to switch all signs in front of every term. (same as multiplying everything by – 1)

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So in this case, both “ – “ signs will become “ + ”

+x=+2 In other words, x = 2 . ANSWER! Another method: 9 – x = 7.
Whenever we notice a negative sign in front of x, we can cut ‘n’ paste the “x” term to the opposite side (removing the negative). (Blue)

9

= 7+x
Now cut ‘n’ paste the “7” from right to left (remembering it’s really a +7) (Red)

9–7= x 2=x x = 2. ANSWER! Which method do you prefer?

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Example 3 Solve 2x + 5 = x – 9 Aim: to get “x” alone on one side of the “=” sign.
Handy hint: When there is more than one “x” & they appear on different sides, cut ‘n’ paste the x’s to the side where most of them are to begin with. In this case, aim to move the x’s to the left because 2x (which is on the left) is bigger than 1x (which is on the right).

Best method 2x + 5 = +x – 9
We decide the x’s will end up on the left side, so begin by moving the “+x” on the right over to the left. (blue)

2x – x + 5 = – 9
A golden rule of equation solving is to tidy up terms whenever you can. So, tidy up the two “x” terms on the left. 2x – x = x

x+5= –9
Now get rid of the +5 by cut ‘n’ pasting it to the right. Remember it must become – 5 (red)

x

= –9–5
Remember from earlier work on negatives that – 9 – 5 = – 14 (Temperatures?)

x

= – 14 ANSWER!

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Example 4 Solve 3a – 8 = 4a – 11 Aim is to get answer “a = …..” So we begin by getting all a’s to one side, and all non-a’s to the other. Best method
Seeing that 4 is bigger than 3, move the a’s to the right. Automatically the non-a’s (the 8 and 11) will go to the left.

+3a – 8 = 4a – 11 – 8 = 4a – 3a – 11 – 8 = a – 11 + 11 – 8 = a 3=a a = 3 ANSWER!
3a moves to right and becomes – 3a. Put it next to its mate, the 4a Tidying up. 4a – 3a = a. Removing the – 11 from right to left. Tidying up. 11 – 8 = 3 Writing it backwards. “3 = a” means exactly the same as “a = 3”

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Example 5 Solve 5 – x = x – 7 Best method:
Noticing there are two x’s here (one on each side), we have to cut ‘n’ paste one of them so it moves over with its mate! Both x’s need to be on the same side! Which side has the bigger x term? +1x (on the right) is bigger than – 1x (which is on the left), so aim to move the x’s to the right. This means the non-x’s (the 5 and 7) will move to the left.

This is important!

5–x =x–7
Cut ‘n’ paste the “-x” from the left to the right: Put it next to its mate, the other x

5 = x+x–7
Tidy up the right (remember your earlier skills??) x + x – 7 = 2x – 7

5 = 2x – 7
Now cut ‘n’ paste the – 7 from right to left (Green)

5 + 7 = 2x
Tidy up the left. 5 + 7 = 12

12 = 2x
Remembering “2x” really means 2 multiplied by x, this gives us

More on this in the next section. It would be illegal to try and cut ’n’ paste the “2” as it is connected to the “x” by a multiply sign. Cut ‘n’ paste can only be done on terms which are connected to each other by + or – signs!

x = 6. ANSWER!

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Example 6 Solve 3(x – 5) = 2(2x + 3) Best method:
Here we have brackets but we know how to get rid of them!! That’s what we have to do. Get rid of the brackets before you do anything! Remember from before that 3(x – 5) really means 3 times x minus 3 times 5? So 3(x – 5) = 3x – 15. and 2(2x + 3) = 4x + 6 similarly.

So….. 3(x – 5) = 2(2x + 3) becomes 3x – 15 = 4x + 6
Now we proceed as we did in previous examples. Cut’n’ paste the x’s to the side where the bigger lot of x’s are…..THE RIGHT!! (4x is of course bigger than 3x). This means the numbers without x’s (the 6 and 15) will end up on the LEFT.

– 15 = 4x – 3x + 6

Cutting the 3x from the left and pasting it to the right (we’ve inserted it just after the 4x because these are like terms and can be simplified)

Now get rid of the 6 so it’s with its mate, – 15, on the left. Tidy the 4x – 3x at the same time. 4x – 3x = x.

– 15 – 6 = x – 21 = x x = – 21 ANSWER!!

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Practice Exercises 10:
Solve each of these equations. Try to use a method each time, even though it might be easier just to guess the answer! 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 x+1=5 a–3=6 b+7=3 y+2=6 4+a=9 7+a=3 4=b+1 12 = x – 8 7=3–x 9= –5–x 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 7–y=8 1–p=2 3–a=3 2x + 1 = x + 6 5x – 2 = 4x + 3 3x – 1 = 2 + 4x x–7=3–x
*careful! see Example 5

2(x – 3) = x + 1 3x – 2 = 2(2x – 5) 2(x + 3) = 3(4 + x)

Click here for answers!

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(d) MULTIPLY, DIVIDE to REWRITE EQUATIONS
RULE 2 An equation remains true if the same number multiplies both sides, or divides both sides. Example 1 Begin with Divide both sides by 2 12 – 8 = 4 6–4 = 2

(True?) (Still true!)

Example 2 Begin with Multiply both sides by 7 Now divide both sides by 2 Example 3 Begin with

3 +5 21 + 35

= =

6 +2 42 + 14 21 + 7

(True?) (True!) (Still true!)

10.5 + 17.5 =

10 – 3 = 5 + 2

(True?)

Pick any number you like and multiply right through by it! (I’ll pick 4!) Multiply each term by 4: 40 – 12 = 20 + 8
(True! 28 = 28)

Now, try multiplying by – 5 (more care needed here!) Starting again with 10 – 3 = 5 + 2

We’ll multiply each of the four numbers by – 5. Watch what happens. 10 –3 =5 +2
Left side -5 × 10 = -50 -5 × -3 = +15 Right side -5 × 5 = -25 -5 × +2 = -10

– 50 +15 = – 25 52

– 10

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– 35 = – 35 STILL TRUE!!!!

Example 4 5=
20 True? 4
In primary school you learned (hopefully!) that 5×

Now multiply both sides by 4: 5×4= 20 Example 5
15 = 5 3 20 ×4 4

3 =3 5

1 =1 4

2 ×7=2 7

etc. When a fraction is multiplied by its denominator (bottom) the denominator vanishes and you’re left with the top! Here

= 20. Still True!

20 × 4 = 20. The quick way is to just delete 4
the 4s and write down the top (20).

Now multiply both sides by 3:
15 ×3=5×3 3
Could you see quickly that

15 × 3 = 15? 3

This is just our rule from the last example.

15 = 15 True !

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Example 6
10 =2 5

Now multiply both sides by 15:
10 × 15 = 2 × 15 5
What happens on the left side is important to understand!

30 = 30 True!

10 × 15 can be worked out simply by cancelling the 5 5
and 15 as follows:

10 10 × 15 = × 15 5 51 = 10 × 3 = 30

3

Q: A:

What have we learned here? That if we begin with a true statement, then as long as we multiply or divide both sides by the same number, it will remain a true statement. Examples 4 and 5 especially show you how easy it is to get rid of a fraction (a skill you’ll need with algebra!)

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(e) SOLVING EQUATIONS using MULTIPLY, DIVIDE
Now let’s move into algebra…….
Example 1 Solve 3x = 21
Remember our aim is to get the answer looking like “x = ……” As the question really means 3 × x = 21, to remove the 3 we can’t just cut ‘n’ paste as we would do if it were 3 + x = 21, but rather we have to divide by 3, so the 3 and the multiplication are cancelled. So….

3x = 21
Dividing both sides by 3

3x 21 = 3 3 3x 21 = 3 3
Now canceling the 3’s on the left side, and simplifying

21 on the right side, 3

x = 7 ….ANSWER! Example 2 Solve 5x = 32
Again recognizing that this really means 5 × x = 32, to remove the “5 x” bit, we have to divide both sides by 5:

5 x 32 = 5 5
Simplifying,

x=

32 2 = 6 …..ANSWER!! 5 5

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Example 3 Solve 35 = – 5a
Here the a is on the right side, and it’s the – 5 we need to remove. So we divide both sides by – 5.

35 − 5a = −5 −5
Simplifying

–7=a
Which is the same thing if we wrote it backwards

a = – 7 ….ANSWER!! Example 4 Solve
y =7 3
Again remember our aim is to get “y = ….” as the answer. This means the “3” has to be removed. This time, the operation linking the y and the 3 is division, so the best way to undo this is the opposite of division, in other words: multiply both sides by 3. See Demo with real numbers.

y ×3=7×3 3
Now in the demo we learned patterns like

4 × 3 = 4 etc, allowing us to cancel 3

the 3’s out to leave just the 4. This time it’s a “y” rather than a 4, but the rules are the same:

y ×3=7×3 3

y = 21…ANSWER!!

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Example 5 Solve
4y =6 7
Remember our eventual aim is the same in all questions: to get the answer looking like “y =…..” Here, we need to get rid of two numbers, the 4 and the 7. We need to use two steps. Step 1….. get rid of the 7 using what we did in Example 4. Multiply both sides by 7:

4y ×7 = 6×7 7
Again the 7s cancel, as the 3s did in the last example

4y

= 42
Step 2….. get rid of the 4 using what we did in Examples 1, 2 and 3 Divide both sides by 4:

4 y 42 = 4 4
Cancelling the 4s

y =

42 1 or 10 ….ANSWER!! 4 2

Important note!!
We could have swapped Steps 1 and 2, but you’ll find that a good rule to follow is:

GET RID OF FRACTIONS FIRST!!

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Example 6 Solve
3x =9 5
Step 1. Get rid of the fraction first. What do we do? Multiply both sides by 5!!

3x ×5=9×5 5

3x

= 45
Step 2. Get rid of the 3. How?? Divide both sides by 3!!

3x 45 = 3 3
3’s cancel on the left, and the right simplifies to 15

x = 15 ….. ANSWER!!

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Example 7 Solve
2x 7 = 3 5
Here we have two fractions! Arrrrgh! Let’s get rid of them first. We can get rid of both of them in the one step if we multiply both sides by 15. Where did we get 15 from? 15 is the smallest number that both 3 and 5 divide into! (In mathematical jargon, 15 is the lowest common multiple (LCM) or lowest common denominator (LCD) of 3 and 5).

2x × 15 = 3

7 × 15 5

Now do you remember what happens in situations like this? See Demo and take careful note of what’s written in the box! On the left side, the 3 and 15 cancel to leave a 5 On the right side, the 5 and 15 cancel to leave a 3
5 2x × 15 = 3 3 7 × 15 5

2x × 5 10x

= 7× 3 = 21
Remember what to do now? (See earlier examples) Divide both sides by 10 !!

10 x 10

=

21 10 21 1 or 2 or 2.1 ….ANSWER!! 10 10

Cancelling the 10s on the left, we get

x

=

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(f)

MORE ADVANCED EQUATIONS WITH ALL FOUR OPERATIONS

Example 8: Solve 3x – 5 = 22 – 6x
There aren’t any fractions to begin with. What a relief! First we need to move the x’s to the side where most of them are. As 3 is bigger than –6, and 3x is on the left, we move x’s to the left. This means non x’s (the 22 and 5) will move to the right. So cut ‘n’ paste the 6x to the left, and the –5 to the right. Note that the –6x becomes +6x and the –5 becomes +5. (You should be familiar with this by now!!)

3x + 6x = 22 + 5
Tidy up both sides

9x = 27
Divide both sides by 9

x = 3 ANSWER!! Example 9 Solve 5x – 3(x – 4) = 7x + 17
No fractions to get rid of, so get rid of the brackets by expanding. Remember what to do? What does the –3 in front do to the “ – “ sign inside the brackets?

5x – 3x + 12 = 7x + 17
Now tidy up

Did you remember to change the “ – “ sign to a “+” ? because –3 × –4 = +12

2x + 12

= 7x + 17

Now it’s time for cut ‘n’ paste, as we did in Example 8 above. x’s go to the right. Why? (Because 7 is bigger than 2)

12 – 17 = 7x – 2x – 5 = 5x
Divide both sides by 5

– 1 = x, or x = -1 (ANSWER!!)
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Remember, when solving equations, there is a general order in which to do things: 1……Get rid of any fractions by multiplying through. See Example 6
or 7

2…... Get rid of any brackets by expanding 3……Tidy up on each side, collecting like terms 4…… Cut ‘n’ paste: Move x-terms to one side, non-x-terms to the other side. 5…….Tidy up again 6……..Divide both sides by number multiplying x

Example 10 (using steps from box above) Solve
2x − 1 =8 3
Step 1 There’s a fraction here, so multiply both sides by 3:

2x − 1 ×3 = 8×3 3
The reason for doing this was so that the 3s would cancel on the left, getting rid of the fraction No brackets, so no need for Step 2 No tidying up to be done, so no need for Step 3

2x − 1 ×3 = 8×3 3

2x – 1

= 24
Step 4 Easy cut ‘n’ paste here. All we have to do is move the –1

2x = 24 + 1
Step 5 Tidy up 24 + 1 = 25

2x = 25
Step 6 Divide both sides by 2

x = 12 ½ ANSWER!!
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Example 11: Solve
2( x − 3) 3(2 − x) − =3 5 4
This looks nasty, because it’s got the lot! Fractions, brackets, you name it! Go back to the box on the previous page, and we’ll follow through the steps. Step 1. Get rid of fractions. We multiply by 20. Remember to multiply every term.

2( x − 3) × 20 5 2( x − 3) × 20 4 5 1

3(2 − x) 4 3(2 − x) 1 4

× 20

=

3 ×20

Now cancel the 5 and 20, then the 4 and 20.

× 20 5 =

3 ×20

Clean up.

2(x – 3) × 4

– 3(2 – x) × 5

= 60

Now clean up further by multiplying the 2 by 4, and the 3 by 5:

8(x – 3)
Step 2.

– 15 (2 – x)

= 60

Remove brackets by expanding

8x – 24
Step 3.

– 30 +

15x

= 60

Tidy up on each side, collecting like terms

23x – 54
Step 4.

= 60

Move x’s to one side, non-x-terms to the other (this is cut ‘n’ paste)

23x
Step 5. Step 6. Tidy up

= 60 + 54 = 114 =
114 = 4.96 ANSWER! 23

23x
Divide both sides by 23

x

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Example 12: Solve
2x + 1 x − 1 1 2x + 1 − = + 5 2 3 2 **An important step to begin with: wherever you have numerators (tops of fractions) with more than 1 term as we have in the first, second and fourth terms), it’s a good idea to put brackets in. This helps when we get rid of fractions and tidy up later on. (2 x + 1) ( x − 1) 1 (2 x + 1) − = + 5 2 3 2
Step 1 Get rid of fractions. What number do you think we should multiply by? If you think 30, then you’d be correct! 60 would also be OK, but the smaller the better! Remember to multiply all 4 fractions by 30:

(2 x + 1) × 30 5
Cancel & clean up

( x − 1) × 30 2

=

1 × 30 + 3

(2 x + 1) × 30 2

6(2x + 1) – 15 (x – 1 )
Step 2 Get rid of brackets

= 10

+

15(2x + 1)

Can you see why we put the brackets in at the start?

12x + 6
Step 3 Tidy Up

– 15x + 15

=

10

+

30x

+ 15

– 3x + 21

= 30x + 25

Step 4 Cut ‘n’ paste (x’s to right side as 30 is bigger than – 3)

21 – 25
Step 5 Tidy Up

= 30x + 3x

–4
Step 6 Divide both sides by 33

= 33x

−4 33 63

= x ANSWER!!!!

The Algebra Toolbox.  2003 R Bowman. All rights reserved

Practice Exercises 11
Solve the following equations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3a – 5 = a + 7 4 – 3t = 2t – 6 5(a – 3) = 2(4 – a) 2x – 7 = – 3 (4 – x) 5a – 4 = 7 – 2(3a – 5) 3p + 5 = p + 3(p – 1) – 4(a + 3) = 3a – 2(5 – a)
2x − 3 =5 7 x x + =7 5 3 5 − 2x x = 6 4

11 12 13 14 15 16

x+

x = 2x − 1 3 3x 1 x− = 4 3 2x x 2 − = 5 4 3 x + 1 3x − 1 + = 5x 2 3 2x 5 − x − =2 3 4 2 − 3x 2 x − 1 x − = 4 6 3

Click here for answers!

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ANSWERS Ex 1: (1) 28 (2) 10 (3) 12 (4) –4 (5) –48 (6) 8 (7) –63 (8) 7 (9) –60 (10) 7 (11) –4 (12) 81 (13) 5 (14) –24 (15) -11 (16) –60 (17) 5 (18) 35 (19) 2 (20) 8 ANSWERS Ex 2: (1) 11 (2) 18 (3) –7 (4) 25 (5) –14 (6) –4 (7) –9 (8) –10 (9) 5 (10) –5 (11) 12 (12) –18 (13) –13 (14) –11 (15) –6 (16) –12 (17) 10 (18) -1 (19) –10 (20) –18 ANSWERS Ex 3: (1) 10a (2) –7a (3) 9a (4) -3t (5) 13ab (6) –7ay or –7ya (7) same (8) same (9) same (10) 10ab or 10ba (11) 1wx or wx or 1xw or xw (12) same (13) a2 (14) 2ab (15) 0 (16) –3xy or – 3yx (17) same (18) same (19) same (20) same (21) same (22) -2rs or –2sr (23) same (24) same (25) same (26) same (27) same (28) 6ab (29) –7y (30) –13abc (31) -3abc (32) same (33) 9a- 9b (34) 2p+ 11 (35) 3a – 15 (36) 11a2 (37) 3a3 (38) same (39) 7a4 (40) same ANSWERS Ex 4 (Remember if there are 2 terms or more in the answer then there is more than one way of writing the answer). In the first 5 answers below, both possibilities are shown. (1) 7a + 8b or 8b + 7a (2) 4a + b or b + 4a (3) -2x + 7y or 7y – 2x (4) 7a – 7b or –7b + 7a (5) –4a + 8b or 8b – 4a (6) 9 – 2a (7) –a – 14b (8) 8ab + 6a (9) x (10) -2ab (11) 10 + 3a (12) -2w – 4t (13) 2y – 4yz (14) 5a – 9 (15) 2ab + 4b (16) 4a 2 – 4a (17) 3 – 2a – a2 (18) 3ab + 3a2 (19) 3a + 6ab + 3b (20) 2k2 – 3k3 Note: In Q9, you might get 0xy. Remember this is just 0! This also happens in Q10 and 15. ANSWERS Ex 5: (1) xyz (2) 6a (3) –15b (4) 8ac (5) 6abc (6) 8ab (7) 20x2 (8) 2ab (9) 12a2 (10) 6a2b (11) 10ab (12) –42ab (13) 24ab (14) 8a2b2 (15) –30a3 (16) 18a3 (17) 12a3b2 (18) -24a2b2c2 (19) a3b3c3 (20) –30a3b2c2 ANSWERS Ex 6: (1) 5ab × 5ab = 25a2b2 (2) 3ab × 3ab × 3ab = 27a3b3 (3) –4a × –4a = 16a2 (4) –2ab × –2ab × –2ab = –8a3b3 (5) 25a2 + 16a2 = 41a2 (6) 3a × 3a × 2b × 2b = 36a2b2 (7) –3a × –3a × 5a × 5a = 225a4 (8) –2ab × –2ab × –2ab × –2ab = 16a4b4 (9) 5abc × 5abc × 5abc = 125a3b3c3 (10) ab × ab × ab × ab × ab = a5b5 ANSWERS Ex 7: (1) 6a – 15 (2) 12ay – 8py (3) 3ab – 3a (4) 6a2 – 14a (5) 10a2b + 15ab2 (6) – 4a + 4b or 4b – 4a (7) – 6a – 3 or – 3 – 6a (8) – x2 – 5x (9) – 2a2b + 6ab2 (10) – 4py + 4p2 – 20pt ANSWERS Ex 8: (1) a(c – y) (2) b(t + a) (3) a(b + c – 2) (4) 3(b + 2c) (5) 3a(b – 2t) (6) 5ab(1 – 2c) (7) 12abc(1 – 2d) (8) 3a(a – 3) (9) 6a(3a – 2bc) (10) 10abc(3ab – 2c) ANSWERS Ex 9: (1) ab + 3a + 2b + 6 (2) a2 + 11a + 30 (3) ab – a – 3b + 1 (4) 2a2 + 13a + 20 (5) 6a2 + 23a + 20 (6) a2 – 36 (How come this has only 2 terms? How is the question different?) (7) 4y2 + 4y – 15 (8) y2- 36 (another one like Q6) (9) 6a2 – 7a – 20 (10) a2 + 10a + 25 (11) 4a2 + 28a + 49 (12) 9a2 – 24a + 16

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ANSWERS Ex 10: (1) 4 (2) 9 (3) – 4 (4) 4 (5) 5 (6) – 4 (7) 3 (8) 20 (9) – 4 (10) – 14 (11) – 1 (12) – 1 (13) 0 (14) 5 (15) 5 (16) – 3 (17) 5 (18) 7 (19) 8 (20) – 6 ANSWERS EX 11: (1) a = 6 (2) t = 2 (3) a = 23/7 (4) x = 5 (5) a = 21/11 (6) p = 8 (7) a = - 2/9 (8) x = 19 (9) x = 105/8 (10) x= 10/7 (11) x = 1 ½ (12) x = 4/3 (13) x = 40/9 (14) x = 1/21 (15) x = 39/11 (16) x = 8/17

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