Algebra is arithmetic with letters.  An arithmetic example would be 3 + 4 =     The same example

written as an algebra problem would be  3 + 4 = r  In both cases the answer is 7.  

Letters are symbols in algebra and are called variables or unknowns. Humans use a lot of symbols. 

For example your name is a symbol. You can change your name and you will still be the same person.

In the above problem we could use t or x or u or any thing we want instead of r. The result would 

still be 7.

Remember math is a language and it has sentences and symbols the same as English and Spanish have.

Words are symbols. ex high school

Let us look at some nice easy problems:  3 x 4 = 12  If you remember from the 4th grade

you could prove your answer in multiplication was correct by dividing the answer by one 

of the factors.( a factor is the numbers or letters that are multiplied together - ex 3 and 4 are factors)

Your answer after you divided would be the other factor ex 3 x 4 = 12   4 = 12/3

This concept is useful in algebra

         3 x 4 = 12              4 = 12/3           3 = 12/4    Lets look at an algebra problem 

         7 x t = 14               t = 14/7      hence t = 2    Notice we are using the concept from 

arithmetic to solve an algebra problem.  Now in algebra we usually write 7 x t = 14 as 7t = 14

7t by definition means 7 x t  or t multiplied by seven. Is 7 = 14/t ?


REMEMBER:   Algebra is arithmetic with letters. 




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