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Quick Reminder on Solving

Remember that when you are solving for one variable you want to

get that thing by itself on one side of the equation.

What you do to one side of the equation you must do to the other

side.

When solving for that one variable add and subtract things you want

to move first. Do not try to multiply or divide until you have moved

everything you can with addition and subtraction.

If you are trying to solve for a; 2a + 5 = 10, you want to move the ( +

5 ) by doing the opposite, which is, subtracting 5 ( - 5 ) to both sides.

2a + 5 – 5 = 10 – 5. Then you will have 2a = 5. Now the 2 being

multiplied to your a is keeping a from being alone. Now you want to

divide by sides by 2 to get a alone. This produces a = 5/2

Literal Equations

Literal Equations are equations with more

than one variable in them.

In this lesson you are going to solve for

one of the variable.

This means you are going to try to get one

variable by itself on one side of the

equation while moving everything else to

the other side.

Example 1

a + b = c ; solve for a

need to move b over. (subtract b from both

sides)

a+b–b=c–b

a=c–b (since c and b are different we

cannot subtract them, so we just write that as “c

– b”)

So, a = c - b

Try this

a + 3b – d = 4; solve for b

(move stuff with addition/subtraction first then multiply/divide last)

a – a + 3b – d = 4 – a (subtract a from both sides)

3b – d + d = 4 – a + d (since 3, -a and d are different we cannot

combine them)

3b =4–a+d (what is keeping b from being alone? The 3

being multiplied to it, so we must divide by 3)

3b 4 − a + d so . b=

4−a+d

= 3

3 3

Example 2

Last lesson we talked about the perimeter

of a rectangle. The formula for that was

P= 2l + 2w

slide when you are done.

Example 2

P = 2l + 2w (we want to solve for w, so we need to get w alone)

P − 2l 2 w

=

2 2

So P − 2l

w=

2

Example 3

Solve for a

Try this one on your own, next slide

for answer.

1

a + b = 2c

2

Example 3

1

a + b = 2c First, subtract b from both sides

2

1

a + b − b = 2c − b

2

1

a = 2c − b Second, multiply both sides by 2

2

1 Remember, when you multiply both sides

2 a = 2( 2c − b ) both 2, everything on both sides gets

2 multiplied by 2. So 2 multiplies 2c-b

a = 4c – 2b

Concepts to remember…

When you are solving for one variable move

things with addition and subtraction first.

When you have moved everything you can with

addition and subtraction then move the rest of

the things with multiplication and division. DO

NOT USE MULTIPLICATION OR DIVISION until

you have moved everything you can with

addition and subtraction.

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