2.4 Use a General Strategy to Solve Linear Equations

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Solve equations using a general strategy
  • Classify equations

Solution

This figure is a table that has three columns and five rows. The first column is a header column, and it contains the names and numbers of each step. The second column contains further written instructions. The third column contains math. On the top row of the table, the first cell on the left reads: “Step 1. Simplify each side of the equation as much as possible.” The text in the second cell reads: “Use the Distributive Property. Notice that each side of the equation is simplified as much as possible.” The third cell contains the equation negative 6 times x plus 3, where x plus 3 is in parentheses, equals 24. Below this is the same equation with the negative 6 distributed across the parentheses: negative 6x minus 18 equals 24.
In the second row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 2. Collect all variable terms on one side of the equation.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Nothing to do—all x’s are on the left side. The third cell is blank.
In the third row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 3. Collect constant terms on the other side of the equation. In the second cell, the instructions say: “To get constants only on the right, add 18 to each side. Simplify.” The third cell contains the same equation with 18 added to both sides: negative 6x minus 18 plus 18 equals 24 plus 18. Below this is the equation negative 6x equals 42.
In the fourth row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 4. Make the coefficient of the variable term equal to 1.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Divide each side by negative 6. Simplify. The third cell contains the same equation divided by negative 6 on both sides: negative 6x over negative 6 equals 42 over negative 6, with “divided by negative 6” written in red on both sides. Below this is the answer to the equation: x equals negative 7.
In the fifth row of the table, the first cell says: “Step 5. Check the solution.” In the second cell, the instructions say: “Let x equal negative 7. Simplify. Multiply.” In the third cell, there is the instruction: “Check,” and to the right of this is the original equation again: negative 6 times x plus 3, with x plus 3 in parentheses, equal 24. Below this is the same equation with negative 7 substituted in for x: negative 6 times negative 7 plus 3, with negative 7 plus 3 in parentheses, might equal 24. Below this is the equation negative 6 times negative 4 might equal 24. Below this is the equation 24 equals 24, with a check mark next to it.
Type of equationWhat happens when you solve it?Solution
Conditional EquationTrue for one or more values of the variables and false for all other valuesOne or more values
IdentityTrue for any value of the variableAll real numbers
ContradictionFalse for all values of the variableNo solution

Table2.5

Self Check

ⓐ After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objective of this section.This is a table that has three rows and four columns. In the first row, which is a header row, the cells read from left to right: “I can…,” “confidently,” “with some help,” and “no-I don’t get it!” The first column below “I can…” reads: “solve equations using the general strategy for solving linear equations,” and “classify equations.” The rest of the cells are blank.

ⓑ On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your mastery of this section in light of your responses on the checklist? How can you improve this?