Helping GED Students

What is Algebra? Simply put, Algebra uses letters or symbols as place holders for numbers that might change. A repair shop might charge $50 initially plus $35 per hour labor plus parts. Expressed in Algebra: 50 + 35h + p. The 35h means you multiply 35 times the number of hours. When the repair is done you just replace the letters with numbers and solve.

There's an old saying: *If the formula doesn't get you, the math will*. Your student will have to learn the Order of Operations to be successful. In the problem above, if h=3 and p=45, then:

50 + 35 x 3 + 45 =

50 + 105 + 45 =

155 + 45 =

200 = $200

Notice that you must solve multiplication before addition.

Many GED math problems involve proportions. Let's say you see a sign that says "3 for $5". If you want to buy 6, then it's easy to figure they will cost $10. You solved a proportion problem. Double the quantity is double the cost.

But what if you want to buy 10? Hmmm? Well, you have to figure that 10 is a little more than triple the quantity of 3, so the cost should be a little more than triple the $5. You might want to have at least $20 in your wallet.

Submitted by Bob Burger