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How to Perform Addition: Steps & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is Addition?
  • 0:27 How to Add
  • 1:33 Two Numbers
  • 2:23 More Numbers
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Addition is one of the basic operations of math. You can say that the whole of mathematics is based on addition. Without addition, we wouldn't have higher math. Watch this video to learn how to add.

What Is Addition?

What is addition? We can say that addition is the combining of two or more small groups of items together to make one big group. When we add, we usually start out with two or more numbers and then we combine them into one big number. We will see how this is done in this video lesson, so keep watching. I'm also going to show you a way of thinking about addition that might make it easier for you.

How to Add

To start, let's talk about how to add. We just talked about what addition is, so now we can talk about how to actually do it. One way of thinking about addition that works really well for me is to just think of adding numbers as adding money. We actually add all the time when we are thinking about money and shopping. If we grab two chocolate bars that are each two dollars, we automatically think in our heads that it would cost us four dollars to buy them both.

What did we just do? We just added without thinking about it too much. So, to add, we are simply combining two or more amounts and finding the total.

In math, we have a symbol for addition. It is the symbol that looks like a cross: +. We place this symbol between two numbers that we want to add together. We can just add two numbers together, such as 1 + 1, or we can add a string of numbers together, such as 1 + 2 + 3. We can keep on stringing numbers together to add them all up. Now let's see how to add two numbers together.

Adding Two Numbers

Let's say we want to add 2 and 3 together. How do we go about doing this? We can think of the 2 and 3 in terms of money. If we were shopping and we wanted to buy one candy bar that was two dollars and a second candy bar that costs three dollars, how much money would we need to buy them both? We would need five dollars since 2 + 3 = 5. We have just added.

Another way to visualize our addition is to think of the 2 and 3 in terms of number of items. We can picture first two donuts and then three donuts. We then picture all the donuts together and ask ourselves 'How many donuts do we have total?' We will see that we have a total of 5 donuts. So 2 + 3 = 5.

Adding More Than Two Numbers

Now, what about adding more than two numbers? What if our problem is 1 + 2 + 3? How do we add three numbers together? We can think of it as buying three items instead of just two. We are still looking for a total. So, if we wanted to purchase three items where the first item is a dollar, the second item two dollars, and the third item three dollars, we would have to add these dollar amounts together. We see that we would need six dollars if we wanted to purchase all three items.

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