# Introduction to algebra

Contents

This topic is an overview of the fundamental ideas and tools of algebra.

Did you realize that the word "algebra" comes from Arabic (just like "algorithm" and "al jazeera" and "Aladdin")? And what is so great about algebra anyway?
This tutorial doesn't explore algebra so much as it introduces the history and ideas that underpin it.

Wait, why are we using letters in math? How can an 'x' represent a number? What number is it? This tutorial is great if you're just beginning to delve into the world of variables and expressions.

Learn how to substitute (or "plug in") values for variables and evaluate algebraic expressions.

Learn how to plug in values to evaluate real-world expressions.

Learn the basics of writing expressions with variables.

Sometimes one variable depends on another. For example, the amount of money you make might depend on how many hours you work.

Learn how to combine like terms (with negative numbers and variables), including more complex problems involving the distributive property.

Learn to tell whether or not two algebraic expressions are equivalent by combining like terms and using the distributive property.

Any expression (mathematical or otherwise) has meaning. Help us match the linear expression to the meaning options given. In some cases, more than one meaning may apply.

Sal uses algebraic reasoning to tackle the problems of dividing by zero.