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Solving Single-step Equations - Problem 1 24,707 views

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

Solving an equation and finding the value of the variable requires "undoing" what has been done to the variable. We do this by using inverse operations to isolate the variable. Remember that an equation is two expressions that are equal to each other. This means that when using inverse operations to isolate the variable, what is done to one side of the equation has to be done to the other side as well so that the equation stays balanced. For example, if 5 is being added to the variable, then to isolate the variable, do the opposite operation. The opposite of adding 5 is subtracting 5. What you do to one side, you have to do to the other, so make sure to subtract 5 from both sides. After solving for the variable, check your answer by plugging the value into the original equation. If the equation is true -- meaning the left side of the equation equals the right side of the equation -- then the solution is correct.

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