Although “doing algebra” to solve equations and change the form of expressions is interesting in itself, the main reason that we learn algebra is because it is a very efficient way of solving a lot of problems.
In order to use it to solve problems, we need to develop the skill of translating problems from words into algebraic statements.
In general, this involves identifying an unknown quantity and using a letter to represent that unknown quantity. Other information given in a question can then be used to make statements relating to the letter we have chosen
Let’s try exercise 8C on pages 114 and 115 of the textbook:
The answers are below: