Combining Like Terms

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Title: Combine Like Terms

Why: Combining like terms is essential to algebraic problem solving.

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  1. Learners will read the text about combining like terms
  2. Learners will learn to combine like terms with multiple variables

Success Criteria:

After completion of this module, learners will be able to
1. Define terms and like terms.
2. Simplify algebraic expressions involving addition and subtraction.

Prerequisites: Learners should know how to combine signed numbers.
Resources and Information: Download the Combining Like terms file found at this link:

Plan and/or Tasks:


  1. Read the information and examples for combining like terms.
  2. Using the first example, redo it on another piece of paper without looking at the answer. Then, check your work.

Key Questions (Critical Thinking Questions)

  1. Simplify: 2ab + 7ba (Apply the Commutative Property for Multiplication to get like terms)
  2. Give an example of a term that could be added to 4ab.
  3. 3x2 -4xy +8y2 + (? ? ?) = x2 -7xy +12y2
    4. 3a – 2ab + 4ac – 14b + ( ? ? ? ? ?) = -6ab - 8ac + 20b + 5c
    5. Give a real-life example as a model for combining like terms.

Skill Exercises:

  1. Simplify:
    a. 7u + 12uv – 9v +8z -14u + 15z -v
    b . 15pq -6p + 12 – 8p
    c. a + b + 4c +4 – a – b - 4
  2. Explain how to combine like terms to someone you know.


  1. Create a problem with an answer of 18abc + 4ab – 6ac - 13

Ask your coach to check answer. Be prepared to explain what you did.

Reflection on Learning:

  1. What strengths did you exhibit in learning about combining like terms?
  2. In what areas would you like to improve your understanding of combining like terms?
  3. What insight did you gain from your investigation of combining like terms?

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Self Assessment

  1. What do you still need to learn about combining like terms?
  2. What goals do you have for further investigation?