Solving Word Problems with Algebraic Subtraction Expressions

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  • 0:00 A Word Problem
  • 0:55 Writing Algebraic Expressions
  • 2:45 Solving the Problem
  • 3:15 Example
  • 4:10 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.

After watching this video lesson, you will be able to solve word problems that involve writing out algebraic expressions. Learn what words to look for to help you solve your problem quickly and easily.

A Word Problem

Word problems are all around us. These are just math problems written with words. In this lesson, we will talk specifically about word problems that involve the subtraction operation.

You might be surprised to find just how many instances in the real world where word problems come in. You just might be unknowingly answering various word problems throughout your day. Knowing how to solve these word problems will help you not just in passing math tests, but also in your everyday life and later on in your work life. Let's take a look at solving a possible word problem that you might encounter in your everyday life.

Jenny is keeping a record of the things that she does throughout her day. She wants to see how much free time she has every day. The record she has shows her sleeping for 8 hours, 2 hours for getting ready in the morning and breakfast, 5 hours at school, 4 hours at work, 1 hour for homework, and then another 2 hours for dinner and getting ready for bed. How much free time does Jenny have?

Writing the Algebraic Expression

We need to write out an algebraic expression that we can evaluate to find our answer. To write our algebraic expression, we carefully read the problem to figure out what our important numbers are and what kind of operation we are dealing with.

Reading over this problem, we see that it is a subtraction problem because it is asking us to find the hours in the day that are left after Jenny has done everything else. The important numbers are 8, 2, 5, 4, 1, and 2 from the amount of time she takes to do her things. There is one more important number that the problem hasn't stated. This is the amount of hours in a day. Of course, this is something that we all should know. In any case, this other important number is 24. So, now that we have all of our important numbers and we know what kind of math operation we are dealing with, we can write out our algebraic expression.

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