What Is a Mathematical Equation?
Learn what mathematical equations are and how to solve them.
Have you seen something that looks like this: x = 3 + 5 – 4(2)?
This is an equation. However, do you know exactly what an equation is? This can be a confusing part of math for many people. However, the concept is really rather simple.
Equation: Math Definition
An equation is simply a statement in math in which two things on equal. There are two expressions, one on each side of an equals sign. For example:
X = 7
In this case, another way to write the equation would be 7 = 7.
Mathematic equations can be used in many other subjects such as physics, chemistry, or biology. Equations are also useful for solving problems such as the length of the side of a triangle or a rectangle, etc.
For example, the hypotenuse of a right triangle can be solved using this equation: c = √a²+b²
Parts of an Equation
Equations often have various symbols and numbers within them.
For example, letters such as a, b, c, or, x, and y, often represent numbers. They are called variables.
The numbers are known quantities, so they are called constants.
A coefficient is a multiplier of a variable in an equation. For example, in the equation above, the number 3 is a coefficient.
The +, -, ÷, and x signs are operators.
Finally, each side of the equation is called an expression.
How to Solve an Equation
Solving an equation may seem complicated, but it’s actually easy. All you have to do is slowly make the equation more and more simple until you reach the solution.
Let’s take a look at a common type of equation with one variable:
4x + 5 = 12 – 4
First, simplify any operations possible. So, you can subtract 4 from 12. Now, the equation should say:
4x + 5 = 8
Now, you need to try to get the variable, or the x, alone. So, subtract 5 from each side of the equation. You do this to both sides of the equation because you need to keep them equal. So, what happens to one side must happen to the other.
4x + 5 – 5 = 8 – 5
4x = 3
Finally, we want to get x alone. So, we must divide both sides of the equation by 4.
4x/4 = 3/4
In other words x = 3/4.
Now, we can check our work by plugging that number back into the original equation, which was 4x + 5 = 8.
So, we have 4(3/4) + 5 = 8
First, you solve the multiplication which is 4(3/4) which is 3. So then we have:
3 + 5 = 8
Then, we add 3 + 5 which is 8 which gives us 8 = 8. This is true which shows us that our answer was correct.
That is how you solve a simple math equation.
Mathematic equations may seem complex. However, once you understand them, they’re not that hard to understand or work with at all!