Expressions with Letters

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Overview

In order to write and solve expressions involving letters, we need to first understand
variables, terms, and coefficients.

VARIABLES TERMS
A variable is a symbol that’s used to
represent an unknown number
Terms are single numbers or variables.
They can also be a set of numbers and
variables that are multiplied together
3 + 2x = 9 3 + 2x = 9
x is the variable There are 3 terms: (3, 2x, and 9)
COEFFICIENTS
Coefficients are numbers placed before a variable when multiplying
3 + 2x = 9
2 is a coefficient

Let’s try using some of the new vocabulary.

The following expression has____ coefficient(s), _____ term(s) and ____variable(s).

2x – 3
[ANSWER] 1 coefficient, 2 terms, and 1 variable

Now that we understand the vocabulary, we can begin to solve expressions involving variables.

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Which expression has exactly 2 variables?

A.  2(2 + 3) – 3x
B.  2x + y
C.  2x + 2 = 10

Which expression represents the sum of 3 terms?
A.  3b + c
B.  (3 + b) + c
C.  3 + b + c

What is the coefficient in the expression 7z + 3?
A.  7
B.  z
C.  3

How many terms are in the expression xy + cd?
A.  1
B.  2
C.  4

Write an expression to represent 5 times y.

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