Algebra Definitions (Mathematics Lesson)
What Are the Definitions in Algebra?
- This is an equation, because it has an = sign.
- The 3, 5, 2 and 4 are constants: they only have a fixed value.
- The x, y and z are variable: they are letters that stand for numbers .
Note: The value they take can vary (hence variable). The equation is satisfied if
x = 1, y = 3 and z = 4, or
x = 1, y = 2 and z = -1, or
x = 2, y = 1 and z = 3...
- The 3 is a coefficient: it is a constant in front of a letter.
Note: The x and y also have a coefficient, eben though there is no number in front of them. If there is no number, assume the coefficient is 1.
- The + and the - are operators: operators include +, -, × and ÷.
- The 3x2, 5(y - 2), 4 and z are terms: a collection of letters, numbers, exponents and parentheses.
Note: terms are separated by + or - operators.
- The 2 in the x2 is an exponent: the x is multiplied by itself 2 times; x × x.
- The y - 2 is a bracket (or parentheses): the terms in the bracket are grouped together into one term, so 5 is multiplied by (y - 2).
- The 3x2 + 5(y - 2) and 4 + z are expressions: one term or several terms that are added (+) or subtracted (-) together.
Note: the = separates expressions.
Other Algebra Definitions
What Are Polynomimials?A polynomial is an expression with two or more terms. It consists of constants, variables and exponents:
What Are Like Terms?Like terms are terms that have the same combination of variables and exponents.
are all like terms. They all have the same combination of letters and exponents: x2y. The only difference is the of each term.
Read more about like terms
NoteWHAT IS ALGEBRA?
Algebra is a branch of mathematics that uses letters or symbols to represent variables, values or numbers, which can then be used to express operations and relationships and to solve equations.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Algebra comes from the Arabic word 'al-jebr', meaning "reunion of broken parts".
ALBERT EINSTEIN AND ALGEBRA
The famous scientist Albert Einstein learned algebra from a young age.
His Uncle Jakob gave him books on the subject and called algebra "a merry science".
He compared algebra to hunting a little animal. You didn't know the name of the animal, so you called it "x". When you finally caught the animal you gave it the correct name.