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Level 3-4 Algebra - Expressions
If I have x pencils and you have twice as many, how many pencils have you got?

Level 3-4 Algebra - Expressions

In your KS3 Maths lessons, you've probably encountered expressions. These are super important in algebra and overall in maths.

Algebra is like a secret code using symbols, often letters, to stand in for unknown numbers, called variables. These variables can change, or vary, depending on the situation. When you write down a situation as a maths sentence, it becomes an expression.

Discover the Fun of Learning with Quizzes!

1.
In an algebraic expression letters are often used to represent what?
Other letters
Only numbers greater than 1
Only numbers less than 1
Values
A letter can be used in place of any number - especially if the number has not yet been worked out
2.
Which of the following is not a mathematical expression?
6
6a x 14
5a - 4b +16c x 8d
Oh my gosh!
The correct answer might well be an English expression but it is NOT a mathematical one!
3.
Simplify 4a + 5b + 6b + 11a
26ab
15a2 + 11b2
15a + 11b
9a + 17b
Here we are adding numbers together, NOT multiplying them together
4.
Which of these is a simplification of 2a x 3a?
5a
6a
23aa
6a2
You must multiply the numbers together AND the letters. Remember a x a = a2
5.
Suzie is x years old and she has a sister called Rosie who is four years older. Rosie's mother was 28 when Rosie was born. How old is Rosie's mother now?
7x
x + 28
x - 4
x + 32
If you got the answer wrong then think carefully through each aspect of the question. Rosie's mother was 28 when Rosie was born. 4 years later, Suzie was born. Suzie is now x years old so Rosie's mother's age is now
28 + 4 + x = 32 + x
6.
Jane is c years old and her sister Katie is three years younger so how old is Katie?
c3
c + 3
c - 3
c - 3 - 3
If she is younger then her age is less than. 3 less than is the same as minus 3
7.
What is the simplification of 3a + 4b + 6c + 3a - 6c - a - 3b?
4a + 2b - 3c
5a + b
6a - 3b
9a - 2b - c
Be careful to account for all the a's, then all the b's and then all the c's. In this case + 6c and - 6c cancel each other out and therefore they do not appear in the simplification
8.
If I have x rabbits and you have twice as many, how many rabbits have you got?
2x
2 + x
2 - x
x2
You have two times the number that I have got and 2 times x is the same as 2x
9.
Peter has x brothers, Paul has y brothers and Graham has z brothers. Between the three boys, how many brothers have they got?
xyz
x + y + z
x + y - z
x - y + z
Don't get baffled by complicated wording - often the answer is easier than you think
10.
Simplify 5a + 7a.
12a
12aa
57a
57aa
Let us suppose that a = 3. (5 x 3) + (7 x 3) = 36. This is the same as saying 12 x 3 (12a) = 36
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Expressions and formulae

Author:  Frank Evans

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