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Writing & Solving Multiplication Word Problems with One Variable

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  • 0:01 A Multiplication Word Problem
  • 1:03 Writing the Algebraic…
  • 2:09 Solving the Problem
  • 2:40 Example
  • 4:06 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 should be able to take a multiplication word problem and translate it into an algebraic expression that you can solve. You will also learn how to solve these problems from the expressions that you write.

A Multiplication Word Problem

In this video lesson, we will talk about multiplication word problems, how to write an algebraic expression from them and then how to solve them. Why do we need to talk about multiplication word problems? Multiplication word problems are multiplication math problems stated in words. We see these problems not only in our math classes but also in the real world. We use them to solve everyday problems. Scientists and engineers use them to solve even more complex problems. In this video lesson, we take a look at the everyday problems that we may encounter. For example, we might come across a problem like this when we are planning a party:

Susan is planning a pool party for her friends. She asks each person to bring five pieces of candy to put into the candy jar. This candy jar will then be shared by all. If Susan has invited 25 people to her pool party with each person bringing five pieces of candy, what is the total number of candy pieces that will end up in the candy jar?

Writing the Algebraic Expression

To solve this problem, we first need to write an algebraic expression we can solve from our problem. An algebraic expression is a mathematical expression using numbers and symbols. To do this, we need to understand the problem in its entirety. It might help to visualize the problem and the important numbers involved in the problem. We also need to know what is being asked of us. Once we understand the problem and what the problem wants us to do, then we can write an algebraic expression that fits the problem, and that will answer the question in the problem.

For our problem, we can visualize our 25 guests coming to the party. We see each guest dropping in five candy pieces into the candy jar. The problem wants to know how many total candy pieces we will end up with. To find the answer, we can multiply the number of guests with the number of candy pieces each guest is bringing. What kind of algebraic expression do we get? We will use x as our variable to represent the total number of candies. We get x = 25 * 5 as our algebraic expression.

Solving the Problem

To find our answer, all we have to do now is to solve our algebraic expression. To solve our algebraic expression, we need to isolate our variable. To do that, we perform the inverse operation to any number that is attached to our variable. In this case, our variable is already by itself, so all we need to do is to evaluate it. Doing that, we get x = 125. So, the total number of candy pieces we will end up with is 125. And we are done!

Example

Let's look at one more example:

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