Have you ever had a hard time finding the answer to a problem in math? Do you have a hard time-solving expressions? In that case, I am here to take you step-by-step on how to solve expressions in math. In 4 easy steps, you will learn how to solve expressions!
First, you need to know vocabulary so you know where to place everything. Let’s begin with operation. An operation is what mathematical process you’re using to solve the problem, for example, a plus or minus sign. Variable is another vocab word. A variable is an unknown number, such as a or x. There’s also a coefficient and a constant. A coefficient is a number paired with the variable like 54a or 12xy. A constant is a number that doesn’t change because it has no variable, for instance, 2 or 98. The last two are like-terms and exponents. Exponents are the power to which a variable or number is raised. A like-term is a term that has the same variables and exponents, for example, 18xy and 14xy or 9a2 and 87a2.
Now it’s time to label your like-terms. Let’s use the example 24p + 3x – 9p. To show 24p and -9p are like-terms, you will circle or underline or do whatever you need to do to label them as like-terms. Then do the same for any other like-terms but in a different label. If you don’t have any other like-terms, it’s time to start combining the like-terms.
Use the operation needed to combine like-terms. After every like-term is combined, leave anything that has no like-terms alone. So you would combine 12xy and 9xy, or 79a and -68a. For a better example, 24p + 3x – 9p, you would take the like-terms to combine, 24p – 9p = 15p, then leave the rest alone, 3x + 15p. Then you have your answer!
Finally, you need to check your work over again. You might be thinking right now, I don’t want to, or, I don’t need to I already know I’m right, but it’s really going to help you. I rush through it thinking, I get every answer right because I’m smart, but then I get problems wrong. Just go back through everything you did and check if you did your operations correctly or if you added, subtracted or if you did anything accurately.
I hope this helped you find the answer to what you were looking for! For me, it’s certainly easy. Although, the hardest part is probably when you accidentally do step 3 wrong because then it really messes everything up. If you didn’t understand, here is a demonstration at Khan Academy.