# ABE Math Tutorials/Whole numbers/Introduction to algebra

## Introduction to Algebra Whole numbers

## Introduction

You should have completed the lesson on Cost and Distance Problems before you work on this lesson. In that lesson, we started to work with the cost formula and the distance formula. Formulas are a handy way of showing how certain numbers are related, like distance, rate, and time. In a formula, we use a letter (like d, r, or t) to indicate the number that we need to find.

## Objective

Letters are actually used a lot in mathematics. Letters are used to indicate "the number that we need to find" in many calculations. In elementary or public school, you probably saw question marks ( ? ) used the same way, like this:

## Summary

 instead; and we cell2 cell3 cell3 cell4 cell5

4 + 3 = ? Or maybe like this: 7 + ? = 9 But in the higher grades, we use a letter (often the letter "x") instead; and we call this algebra. Here are a few examples: Question: 4 + x = 10 Answer: x = 6 because 4 + 6 = 10 Another one: Question: x - 5 = 8 Answer: x = 13 (...because 13 - 5 = 8) Template:Activity2Are you fine?

We can use " x " with multiplication and division problems, too: 7(x) = 21

## Conclusion

Remember that we read this question as "7 times x = 21. In this case, x = 3, because 7 x 3 = 21 And, for division: 32 ÷ x = 4 x = 8 (...because 32 ÷ 8 = 4)