Article Summary: "Algebra is a major component
of math that is used to unify mathematic concepts. Algebra is built on experiences
with numbers and operations, along with geometry and data analysis. Some
students think that algebra is like learning another language."
This is always a big question when a student begins to take their first algebra course. Algebra encompasses relationships, the use of symbols, modeling, and the study of mathematical change. The first formal algebra course that most students enroll is Algebra I. Usually begins in the ninth grade, although several students are starting to take it in the eighth grade.
Some students say that I can not do algebra because I do not understand it. The problem with this statement is that you have been working on algebra problems every since kindergarten. The word algebra is not used, but the ideas are used. You have used elements of algebra when solving problems and when you solve word problems.
Here is an example: in grades three through five you investigate the properties of whole numbers. You learn to multiply 18 times 14 mentally. First you multiply 18 times 10 and then multiply 18 times 4, and then you add the two products. This is called the distributive property of multiplication over addition. This is algebra and algebraic reasoning.
Algebra is a major component of math that is used to unify mathematic concepts. Algebra is built on experiences with numbers and operations, along with geometry and data analysis. Some students think that algebra is like learning another language. This is true to a small extent, algebra is a simple language used to solve problems that can not be solved by numbers alone. It models real-world situations by using symbols, such as the letters x, y, and z to represent numbers.
The vocabulary of algebra is similar to basic arithmetic such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. PEMDAS is still used to solve algebra problems, because order of operations is strictly followed in algebra.
There are several terms that describe algebraic operations. These include:
We use algebra everyday of our lives. Examples of ways that we use algebra are finding the distance, perimeter of an area, volume, determining the cost of something, renting something, time relationships, pricing options for something you want to buy, and more.