## 3 Must Know Math Concepts for Algebra

Algebra is the language of using letters to represent numbers. Do you know what are the important Algebra Math concepts in PSLE Math?

You will also be using Algebra often in Secondary school and later years. So primary 6 is a good chance to build up your understanding of Algebra.

Here are 3 must know math concepts for Primary 6 algebra. Also check out the 3 mistakes which you must avoid for Algebra.

There is a Mind-Map for the whole Algebra topic here. Click the download button to download now.

## 1. Simplification

Algebraic simplification is the first must know math concepts.

When you are given numbers in the question, you can solve the question for a final numerical answer.

For instance, “John has 3 sweets. He buys 2 more sweets. How many sweets does John has?”

The answer is “3 + 2 = 5”

But in Algebra, you are given letters to represent unknown numbers. So you can’t solve the question for a final numerical answer.

But you can **simplify** and give a final algebraic answer.

For example, “John has *m* sweets. He buys 2 more sweets. How many sweets does John has?”

The answer is “m + 2”. And that is the final answer.

Do note that you cannot add m to 2 to become 3m as they are considered “unlike” terms. This is a very common mistake.

## 2. Substitution

After you have known how to simplify algebraic expressions, the next math concept will be substitution.

As I mentioned earlier, Algebra is the language of using letters to represent unknown numbers. Sometimes, the question will give you the value of the letter and require you to give a numerical answer.

In this case, you need to substitute (or replace) the letter with the number given and work out the final answer.

When you do substitution, keep in mind the order of operations.

Example: If a = 2, find the value of a + 2 x 3?

The order of operations states that multiplication comes before addition. So you do “2 x 3” first which is 6. Then you substitute the letter a by 2, and add 2 to 6. The final answer is 8.

Now take a look at another example.

If a = 2, find the value of (a + 2) x 3?

The order of operations states that bracket comes before multiplication. So you replace the letter a by 2 and do the addition in the bracket first. Then you multiply the answer by 3.

So answer is “4 x 3 = 12”.

Notice that the final answer is different.

## 3. Solving Problem Sums

To solve problem sums using Algebra, you must first understand the question clearly, followed by learning how to express the question in algebraic form.

For instance, “Subtract p from 20” can be expressed as “20 – p”.

Keep in mind on when to put brackets and always put units at the end.

For example, “John has $p. He receives $20. The final answer is $(p + 20). Don’t forget the $ and bracket!

After you are clear with this, you can extend the same skill to using “**Units and Parts**” which is a very powerful algebra math concept to solve challenging problem sums.

For examples of using “Units and Parts”, you can enrol in my online course, “8 Must Know Methods of Solving Math Problem Sums“. You will learn how to use “units and parts” as well as 7 other important methods to solve many problem sums.

There is a Mind-Map for the whole Algebra topic here. Click the download button to download now.