Solving Multi-Step Equations with One Variable

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10829

X marks the spot! That may help pirates with treasure maps, but how does that help with algebra? Take the simple steps needed to solve multi-step equations that reveal the identity of Mr. Variable!

categories

Middle School

subject
Math
learning style
Visual
personality style
Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Why learn algebra? Finding "X" is only useful if you are a pirate!

Arrr me mateys, that is not correct!

Algebra is useful for many real-life applications; for example: engineering a roller coaster, figuring out if you have enough money to make a purchase at a store, and finding the distance to your favorite locations.

Check out this Solving Real-World Problems Using Multi-Step Equation: An Application (Algebra I) video, by CK-12 Foundation, to see how it might be used in your life:

 

Now, it's your turn to think of ways that you use algebra in your daily life. Share your ideas with your teacher or parent.

In this lesson, you will specifically review how to solve multi-step algebra equations.

In any algebraic equation, you need to solve for X (the variable). In a single-step algebraic equation, it is fairly simple to isolate the variable — all you need to do is the inverse operation to the constant. See below:

To isolate X you need to do the inverse of +4, which is -4:

X + 4 = 32
-4 = 32 -4
X = 28

In a multi-step equation, it just means there is more than one step to isolate and solve for X.
Here is an example of a multi-step equation:

2x + 10 = 34
2x - 10 = 34 - 10 (STEP 1: Subtract 10 from each side)
2x = 24
2x ÷ 2 = 24 ÷ 2 (STEP 2: Divide each side by 2)
X = 12

Here is another great explanation on Algebra Basics: Solving 2-Step Equations - Math Antics:

 

It might also be helpful to you to watch Math Bhambri's Solving Multi Step Equations using Algebra Tiles (Part 1):

 

For a reference on Inverse Operations, see the chart below:

 

Continue on to the Got It? section to try a few problems on your own!

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