Hi, my name is Bassem Saad. I'm an associate math instructor and math Ph.D. candidate. I'm here today for About.com to show you how to make a basic algebra word problem. So a well-written word problem should model reality. At every step of the way of your creation of the word problem, you should ask yourself if the problem or the solution is reasonable.

Steps for Making Basic Algebraic Word Problems

Let's begin with step one: Begin with a mathematical expression. For example, 12, minus two x, equals ten. Once we have our mathematical expression, we can move on to step two, using key words to write out the expression. So for this example, we'll say the difference of 12 and twice x, equals ten. Now we're ready for step three where you try to build a plausible story around the expression.

Example of a Basic Algebraic Word Problem

For example, our mathematical expression has turned into the following word problem: Bill has 12 bananas and x apples. The difference between the number of bananas and twice the number of apples is ten. How many apples does Bill have? Notice that we've included the formula in the second sentence; but for this problem to make sense, apples has to be a positive whole number, which leads us to step four: We solve the problem and verify for consistency. So from the word problem we should get back our expression, and then we can solve our expression so that we see we have one apple. One apple makes sense because it's a positive whole number.

Another Example of a Basic Algebraic Word Problem

So let's do one more example. We'll begin with the expression: 20x equals 450. Then we'll move on to step two: re-writing the expression in words using key words. The product of 20 and x, equals 450. Now we're ready to move on to a plausible story. Sam has a rectangular garden with an area of 450 square feet. The length of the garden is 20 feet and the width of the garden is x feet. Remember that the area of a rectangle is the product of the length and the width. Find the width of Sam's garden. So now we're ready to solve and verify. From our word problem, we retrieve our original mathematical expression; that is 20x equals 450. From this mathematical expression, we can divide 20 into both sides to find out that x equals 22-and-a-half feet. So now we've seen how to construct basic algebraic word problems.

Thanks for watching, and to learn more visit us on the web at About.com.

Steps for Making Basic Algebraic Word Problems

Let's begin with step one: Begin with a mathematical expression. For example, 12, minus two x, equals ten. Once we have our mathematical expression, we can move on to step two, using key words to write out the expression. So for this example, we'll say the difference of 12 and twice x, equals ten. Now we're ready for step three where you try to build a plausible story around the expression.

Example of a Basic Algebraic Word Problem

For example, our mathematical expression has turned into the following word problem: Bill has 12 bananas and x apples. The difference between the number of bananas and twice the number of apples is ten. How many apples does Bill have? Notice that we've included the formula in the second sentence; but for this problem to make sense, apples has to be a positive whole number, which leads us to step four: We solve the problem and verify for consistency. So from the word problem we should get back our expression, and then we can solve our expression so that we see we have one apple. One apple makes sense because it's a positive whole number.

Another Example of a Basic Algebraic Word Problem

So let's do one more example. We'll begin with the expression: 20x equals 450. Then we'll move on to step two: re-writing the expression in words using key words. The product of 20 and x, equals 450. Now we're ready to move on to a plausible story. Sam has a rectangular garden with an area of 450 square feet. The length of the garden is 20 feet and the width of the garden is x feet. Remember that the area of a rectangle is the product of the length and the width. Find the width of Sam's garden. So now we're ready to solve and verify. From our word problem, we retrieve our original mathematical expression; that is 20x equals 450. From this mathematical expression, we can divide 20 into both sides to find out that x equals 22-and-a-half feet. So now we've seen how to construct basic algebraic word problems.

Thanks for watching, and to learn more visit us on the web at About.com.

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