
Introduction
View the activity introduction for more information on the topic

Read aloud
Read the question aloud

Accessibility
Open the accessibility toolbar to change fonts and contrast, access a dictionary, use a ruler and more
The main purpose of algebra is to solve problems.
But first, we must "translate" the problems into algebra.
The procedure for translation is generally as follows:
(a) Let a letter stand for the quantity to be found in the question. (e.g. Let the missing number be x)
(b) State the units of measurement if necessary. (e.g. Let the distance be x metres)
(c) Write statements involving the missing quantity and form an equation to connect them.
(d) Solve the equation algebraically.
(e) Translate the answer back into English. (e.g. the distance is 2.5 km)
(f) Check the numerical answer with the facts given in the original question.
Example
Find four consecutive odd numbers whose sum is 120.
(a) Let the first odd number be x.
(c) This means that the next odd number is x + 2, and the next is x + 4 and the next is x + 6.
Their sum is 120.
The equation is:
x + x + 2 + x + 4 + x + 6 = 120
(d) Solve to get:
4x + 12 = 120
4x = 120  12 = 108
x = 108 ÷ 4 = 27
(e) The numbers are x, x + 2, x + 4 and x + 6.
Using x = 27, we get the odd numbers 27, 29, 31 and 33.
(f) 27 + 29 + 31 + 33 = 120 so it works.
Question
/ 10Ms Shepherd
Do you want to skip questions and finish?
You need to check your answer before you proceed. Are you sure you want to skip?
Teacher explanation