Translating an Addition Statement into an Algebraic Expression

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  • 0:01 An Addition Statement
  • 1:19 Writing The Algebraic…
  • 3:44 Example 1
  • 4:20 Example 2
  • 4:57 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.

Watch this video lesson to learn how you can turn an addition statement from words into an algebraic expression. Learn how the key terms translate into mathematical symbols.

An Addition Statement

In this video lesson, we will learn how to take an addition statement in words and translate it into an algebraic expression that we can go ahead and solve if we want to. Our addition statement is a problem stated using words, and our algebraic expression is a problem stated using numbers and symbols. When working in math, you are probably used to working straight from an algebraic expression. But in the real world, you might actually be presented with a problem that you need to translate before you can solve it. In this video lesson, we talk about translating. Solving these problems is covered in other lessons.

Let's take a look at a possible scenario where you might need to translate an addition statement into an algebraic expression. Suzie is with her friend, Jenny. They are at the toy store looking for gifts for Suzie's nephew. She sees some building blocks. Suzie has $20 to spend to buy two new toys. The building blocks cost $8, and Jenny wants to find out how much the second toy can cost. She asks Suzie, ''Eight plus what equals twenty?'' Before Jenny can solve this problem, she needs to translate this addition statement into an algebraic expression. Let's see how she does it.

Writing the Algebraic Expression

In order to translate the statement, Jenny focuses on the number words and the key words in the statement. The numbers that she notices are 'eight' and 'twenty.' The key terms are 'plus,' 'what,' and 'equals.' The key terms tell her what kind of math operation she is dealing with and how the numbers work together.

She sees that the key word 'plus' tells her that the math operation here is addition. The key word 'what' tells her that there is a variable to solve for. When writing out her algebraic expression, Jenny uses the letter 'x' to stand for the variable. Because the key word 'what' represents a variable, an unknown number, Jenny considers the 'what' a number as well. How the key word 'plus' is used in the sentence also tells Jenny what numbers are linked together with the operation.

The numbers that are linked together are the 'eight' and the 'what.' Jenny can now write 8 + x as the beginning of her algebraic expression. The key word 'equals' tells Jenny that there is an equals sign, and how this word is used in the sentence tells Jenny what equals what. The way the word 'equals' is used in this sentence tells Jenny that the 8 + x is equal to the 'twenty.' Jenny can now finish her algebraic expression by writing 8 + x = 20.

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