How to write basic algebra formulas
Why do we need to write algebra formulas?
We described in the previous page why algebra and maths in general is confusing. Why do things go over our head as soon as letters and words are introduced?
Did anyone ever explain in the first instance why we need letters? I will tell you now. Quite simply, mathematicians are lazy and algebra is the short way of writing mathematical rules (we will cover algebra rules later).
However, what makes you think we need to put letters in, instead of something else?
We could put symbols instead of letters, as shown in the examples below.
A great advantage to algebra formulas is that people from all over the world can understand it, regardless of language because there are no words to translate.
What is a formula?
A rule written out in algebra is known as a formula. Below are 8 examples. The first four demonstrates formulas with letters in. The latter four uses symbols.
|example :||t = b + j|
|k = 5 × j|
|a = n ÷ 3|
|m = d - x|
Now, who's to say we can't use symbols. No problem, what so ever! You can put circles, squares, bananas, anything you like. Just as long as YOU know what they mean.
|example :||* = & + 5|
|@ = ? × 5|
|& = $ + %|
|! = 2 ÷ £|
But what do all these letters and symbols mean I hear you screaming. Remember...we are lazy, so it must mean it represents something bigger (or maybe not, You can make that decision). We can best explain this in an example.
Paula and Irfaan are doing a sponsored swim. Paula's sponsors will pay her £2 for each length she swims.
How can Paula work out her total sponsor money?
We can work out the total by mutiplying £2 by the number of lengths she does.
So, the total number equals £2 × number of lengths
In short form this is
t = 2 × l
Do you see now what we mean by lazy? So the letters represent words and the formula represents a short way to explain our answer.
If Irfaan's sponsors will pay him £3 for each length he swims. What will the algebra formula be for his total amount?
Well, hopefully you will have worked out that its the same method as Paula's. The total amount equals £3 × number of lengths. In short, the algebra formula for Irfaan is:
t = 3 × l
Are we getting the hang of it?
Try these questions, as usual answers are at the bottom.
1. Questions: Write down the short form of these rules. Use the red letters and numbers.
a. The total money raised on a sponsored walk at £6 for each mile
b. The total cost of a weekly magazine at $2 each week
c. The number of tins of cat food needed by cats who eat 4 tins a week
d. The total weight of a number of cars weighing 700kg each
e. The total number of children in all the classes at a school if there are 26 in each class.
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More algebra formula examples
Mr Smith's car is 4m long. He is buying a caravan. What is the algebra formula for this?
The total length will be 4m plus the length of the caravan.
In short form this will be: t = 4 + c
The money received by 5 children when a prize is shared equally among them.
What is the algebra formula for this?
The money received will be the prize divided by the 5 children.
In short form this would be: m = p ÷ 5
Okay, now lets see how much you understood. Try these questions, answers are at the bottom.
2. Questions: Write down in short form these rules. Use the red letters and numbers.
a. The total length of a mini 3m long and a caravan.
b. The length remaining on a 10m roll of carpet when a piece has been cut off.
c. The number of sweets remaining in a bag of 15 when some have been eaten.
d. The number of 4m pieces that can be cut from a length of string.
e. The money received by some children when a prize is shared equally among them.
How to Write Basic Algebra Formulas
Examples, Exercises, Exam Questions and Worked Solutions
Now, its all very well and hunky dory being able to do questions, but can you apply them to exam questions? The number of times I have come across students that can answer one type of question a million times and get them right a million times.
But the moment an exam question is put in front of them,
they quiver and moan that they can not do it.
The secret to passing exams is in doing the exams.
I have written up this 13 page ebook, with more information on 'How to Write Basic Algebra Formulas'. Included is more questions and more importantly EXAM QUESTIONS with SOLUTIONS.
All for a small price of £3.00
WOW JUST £3.00
1. a. t=6×m, b. t=2×w, c. t=4×w, d. t=700×c e. t=26×c
2. a. t=3+c, b. l=10-p, c. n=15-e, d. n=l÷4 e. m=p÷c
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