Math Help: Algebra – Vocabulary

06/09/2015
Basic mathematics is one of the essential foundations of an early learner’s education. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are some of the first things children learn in school. Once students reach a certain level, they need to be able to apply all their basic math skills to more complex areas, first of which is algebra. Algebra can be confusing for a number of reasons but understanding the basic vocabulary will help ease students in, rather than make them jump straight into the deep end. The Tutoring Center in Lake Forest has this short list of algebra vocabulary to hopefully clear a few things up.

Real Numbers: A real number is literally any point anywhere on the number line, no matter how many decimals it has. Any point anywhere on the number line, which is a lot of numbers!

Integers:  All of the negative and positive whole numbers, including zero.
Ex: ......-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3......

Rational Numbers:  A number that can be expressed as a fraction or ratio of 2 integers, as long as the denominator is not equal to zero. A fraction with a denominator of zero equals zero.
Ex: 1, 1/3, 55/100, 100/50, etc.

Irrational Numbers:  A number that cannot be written as a fraction because it has an infinite amount of decimals with no definite ending.
Ex: Pi is the most famous irrational number because there is no way to write it as a fraction.π = 3.1415926535897932384626433832795 (and A LOT more...)

Variable: A symbol, usually a letter like x or y, for an unknown number. There can be multiple variables to each equation.
Ex:  in 3x + 2y = 12, x and y are variables.

Constant: Something with a fixed value. In Algebra, a constant is a number on its own, or sometimes a letter such as a, b or c to stand for a fixed number. If it is not a constant it’s a variable.
Ex: in "z + 7 = 16", 7 and 16 are constants, while z is the variable.

Of course there are numerous more vocabulary words to learn, but with these as a basis, your students should be ready for the first day of algebra. Since algebra takes the concepts of numbers and letters, and combines them to solve complicated equations, real mastery takes a lot of time and memorization. If you are interested in one-to-one math instruction or private tutoring in Lake Forest this summer, contact our team today at 949-273-3534 for more information.

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