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Algebraic thinking: FAQ

Frequently asked questions about algebraic thinking.

What are parentheses used for in algebraic expressions?

Parentheses help us group terms together and clarify the order of operations. For example, in the expression 2×(3x+1), we would first add 3x and 1 together, and then multiply the sum by 2.
Try it yourself with this exercise:

Why do we need to translate expressions with parentheses?

Translating expressions with parentheses helps us understand what the expression is trying to communicate. For example, we might translate 2x×(3x+1) to "add the sum of 3x and 1, then multiply 2x by the sum".
Try it yourself with this exercise:

How do we create expressions with parentheses?

It's all about grouping terms together. For example, we might write 5x+7x+4 as 5x+(7x+4) to show that we want to add 7x and 4 together first, before adding 5x.
Try it yourself with this exercise:

How do we find relationships between two patterns?

To find relationships between two patterns, we look for similarities or differences. For example, we might notice that the pattern 2x+1 always gives us an odd number, while the pattern 2x always gives us an even number.
Try it yourself with these exercises:

Is algebraic thinking useful in the real world?

Absolutely! Algebraic thinking helps us understand relationships between quantities, which is useful in a wide range of fields, from engineering to finance.

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