# Algebra (Mathematics Curriculum)

## What Is Algebra?

Algebra is a branch of mathematics that uses letters and other symbols to represent numbers.

### Dictionary Definition

The Oxford English Dictionary defines algebra as "the part of mathematics in which letters and other general symbols are used to represent numbers and quantities in formulae and equations."

Here is an example of an algebraic equation. In this example, the letter x represents a number. Our job is find the value of x.

## Where Does the Word Algebra Come From?

Algebra comes from the Arabic word *al-jebr*, which means "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.

## Algebra Definitions

There are many different words used in algebra: such as equation, variable, coefficient, term. Understanding algebra is easier when you understand what each of these words mean.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn all the definitions.

## Arithmetic with Letters

Algebra uses letters and other symbols to represent numbers. Just like numbers, the letters and symbols can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn arithmetic with letters.

## Arithmetic with Terms

Terms are a collection of one or more numbers, letters and brackets written next to each other. Terms can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn arithmetic with terms.

## Laws of Exponents in Algebra

An exponent tells you how many times a number, letter or term is multiplied by itself.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn how to use the law of exponents in algebra.

## Like Terms

Like terms are terms which have the same combination of letters, each with the same exponent. The only difference allowed between terms that are like terms are the numbers and signs in front of them.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn how to find like terms and how to collect like terms to simplify expressions.

## Expanding Brackets

Expanding brackets means multiplying terms inside of a pair of brackets in order to remove the brackets from an expression.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn how to expand brackets.

## Solving Equations with Brackets

Some equations in algebra contain brackets.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn about how to solve equations with brackets.

## Factoring

Factoring is the opposite of expanding brackets. It is a way of simplifying an expression.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn about factors in algebra, the greatest common factor and how to factor expressions.

## Algebraic Fractions

Algebraic fractions are fractions which contain letters and other symbols.

In this mini-curriculum, you will learn about algebraic fractions, including arithmetic and simplifying.