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Mathematics: Algebra

Mathematics support for students at the University of Suffolk.

Introduction

Algebra

Welcome to the guide for Algebra.  The aim of this guide is to provide signposting to useful material to help you get started with algebra.

So what is algebra? The Online Etymology Dictionary defines algebra as the "reunion of broken parts". It's all about rearranging the individual parts of a mathematical expression to make it simpler or more useful. (We like simple!)

Algebra isn't really a mathematics topic on it's own, it's more a technique that can be applied to other areas of mathematics. When we say "algebra" on its own, what we mean is "number algebra": rearranging mathematical expressions with numbers in them. Other types are Matrix Algebra, Complex Algebra, Geometric Algebra, and more. You're more likely to encounter these if you study engineering or physical science, however it's good to know that they're out there and that what we're focusing on here is number algebra.

Top Tip

lt's easy to get lost with all the terminology in mathematics. In the introduction we used the phrase "mathematical expression" a few times, but what is it? We might have a general everyday understanding of these words, however in math, words usually have a specific meaning.

Before trying to understand a new concept it can really help to scan through for any terms that you don't fully understand and find out what they mean: Expression

Getting started

Algebra basics (Khan Academy)
Foundations, algebraic equations, linear equations, graphing lines and slopes, systems of equations and much more

Algebra I (Khan Academy)

Steps into Algebra (UEA)

Algebra (Maths Tutor)
Step by step videos and tests covering a variety of algebra topics

Find the equation of a line with a certain gradient which passes through a specific point

We've had a few requests from students around how to find the equation of a line which passes through a specific point, and has a certain slope (gradient), within the Faculty of Health and Science, Dept of Science and Technology.

For example, their practical problems (Basic Algebra 4), sheet includes 9 questions. The following video walks through one method which is nice and straight forward.

If you've been struggling with your approach, perhaps the following will help. The equation you need to provide is slope-intercept equation which is calculated at the end of the video.

Converting a fraction into a decimal

In response to a session I ran the other day, I thought the following Khan Academy video would be really useful for those who are looking at refreshing on how to convert a fraction into a decimal. It is also really useful as it explains how to convert a decimal into a fraction :-)

If you have any questions around Maths Support, please email learningservices@uos.ac.uk

The following resources are available from the Maths Centre. You are recommended to access this resource (http://mathcentre.ac.uk/)‚Äč

Intended Audience: 1st Year Students (Level 4)

The following video outlines a method to solve simultaneous equations. It take a very simple approach, and is effective. 

Note: Not created by University of Suffolk