But word problems do not have to be the worst part of a math class.

See Article History Algebra, branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations and formal manipulations are applied to abstract symbols rather than specific numbers.

The notion that there exists such a distinct subdiscipline of mathematics, as well as the term algebra to denote it, resulted from a slow historical development. This article presents that history, tracing the evolution over time of the concept of the equation, number systems, symbols for conveying and manipulating mathematical statements, and the modern abstract structural view of algebra.

For information on specific branches of algebra, see elementary algebralinear algebraand modern algebra. Yet, as simple and natural as such a notion may appear today, its acceptance first required the development of numerous mathematical ideas, each of which took time to mature.

In fact, it took until the late 16th century to consolidate the modern concept of an equation as a single mathematical entity. Three main threads in the process leading to this consolidation deserve special attention: Attempts to solve equations involving one or more unknown quantities. In describing the early history of algebra, the word equation is frequently used out of convenience to describe these operations, although early mathematicians would not have been aware of such a concept.

The evolution of writing algebraic equations problems notion of exactly what qualifies as a legitimate number. Over time this notion expanded to include broader domains rational numbers, irrational numbersnegative numbers, and complex numbers that were flexible enough to support the abstract structure of symbolic algebra.

The gradual refinement of a symbolic language suitable for devising and conveying generalized algorithmsor step-by-step procedures for solving entire categories of mathematical problems. These three threads are traced in this section, particularly as they developed in the ancient Middle East and Greece, the Islamic era, and the European Renaissance.

Problem solving in Egypt and Babylon The earliest extant mathematical text from Egypt is the Rhind papyrus c. It and other texts attest to the ability of the ancient Egyptians to solve linear equations in one unknown.

A linear equation is a first-degree equation, or one in which all the variables are only to the first power. Evidence from about bc indicates that the Egyptians also knew how to solve problems involving a system of two equations in two unknown quantities, including quadratic second-degree, or squared unknowns equations.

However, throughout this period there was no use of symbols—problems were stated and solved verbally. The following problem is typical: What is the quantity that says it?

First you calculate the difference of this 10 to this 4. Behold, it is 4, the quantity that said it. What has been found by you is correct.

Babylonian mathematics dates from as early as bc, as indicated by cuneiform texts preserved in clay tablets. Babylonian arithmetic was based on a well-elaborated, positional sexagesimal system—that is, a system of base 60, as opposed to the modern decimal systemwhich is based on units of The Babylonians, however, made no consistent use of zero.

A great deal of their mathematics consisted of tables, such as for multiplication, reciprocalssquares but not cubesand square and cube roots. In addition to tables, many Babylonian tablets contained problems that asked for the solution of some unknown number. Such problems explained a procedure to be followed for solving a specific problem, rather than proposing a general algorithm for solving similar problems.

The starting point for a problem could be relations involving specific numbers and the unknown, or its square, or systems of such relations. The number sought could be the square root of a given number, the weight of a stone, or the length of the side of a triangle.

Many of the questions were phrased in terms of concrete situations—such as partitioning a field among three pairs of brothers under certain constraints.

Still, their artificial character made it clear that they were constructed for didactical purposes. Page 1 of Step 4: Write an equation. First we need to know a formula that will relate circumference and radius since those are two pieces of information in the problem.

The formula for the circumference is. Free Pre-Algebra worksheets created with Infinite Pre-Algebra. Printable in convenient PDF format. In the Language of Algebra, an equation is the basic number "sentence".

An equation is a mathematical expression that contains an equals sign. Click on the sentences below to translate them into equations. Total Number of Items to write an equation for each problem.

Use a variable where necessary. You don’t need to solve the equations. 2.

At your wedding reception, you’ll have: • a number of Tables; • a number of Guests per Table; • a total number of Guests. Write a structure sentence relating the quantities above. Emergence of formal equations. Perhaps the most basic notion in mathematics is the equation, a formal statement that two sides of a mathematical expression are equal—as in the simple equation x + 3 = 5—and that both sides of the equation can be simultaneously manipulated (by adding, dividing, taking roots, and so on to both sides) in order to “solve” the equation.

equations in text Technical writing often contains equations, however the use of equations is not commonly discussed in books on style and composition.

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