How to solve simple algebraic equations
Home learning focus
In this lesson you will learn how to solve algebraic equations.
This lesson includes:
- one video
- three activities
An equation is a mathematical expression that contains an equals symbol. Algebra is used in Maths when we do not know the exact number in a calculation - this unknown value can be replaced with a letter.
Let's take a look at a question.
3 loaves of bread and a £4 pack of cheese costs £10. How can you work out the cost of 1 loaf of bread?
Watch this short video from BBC Bitesize to find out how to solve simple algebraic equations.
An operation is a mathematical process. Common examples are addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (x) or division (÷).
An inverse operation is the opposite of the operation used in the equation.
+ is the opposite of –
– is the opposite of +
× is the opposite of ÷
÷ is the opposite of ×
Solving an equation
When solving an equation it is important to find the value of one letter.
Let's solve the equation 3x + 4 = 10
To remove the + 4 complete the inverse (opposite) operation by subtracting the 4.
3x = 10 – 4
That gives us 3x = 6 (3 loaves cost £6)
To work out the cost of one loaf, divide both sides of the equation by 3.
x = 6 ÷ 3
So x = 2
One loaf costs £2
Solve the equation
Find out how much you know about how to solve a simple algebraic equation in this short quiz!
There's more to learn...
Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.