# Solving Linear Equations – Basics to Advanced Techniques and Problems

Welcome to an exciting journey through the world of linear equations! This article is designed to take you from the very basics, suitable for a 6th grader, all the way up to the sophisticated methods expected of a 12th grader. So, let’s embark on this mathematical adventure together!

Linear equations aren’t just lines on a graph; they’re the language through which we can describe and understand relationships, patterns, and changes in everything from simple daily tasks to complex financial markets and the laws of physics.

**Table of Contents**

## What is a Linear Equation?

A linear equation is like a balance scale. Whatever you do to one side of the equation, you must do to the other to keep it balanced! It’s an equation that forms a straight line when graphed and has no variables with exponents (power) greater than 1.

Before you proceed, see all the notations that we generally use in Mathematics.

### Forms of Linear Equations

The simplest form is $ ax + b = c $, where $ a $, $ b $, and $ c $ are numbers, and $ x $ is what we want to find.

Linear equations can take various other forms depending on the number of variables and the way they are presented.

#### 1. Standard Form:

The standard form of a linear equation is $Ax + By = C$, where $A$, $B$, and $C$ are constants, and $x$ and $y$ are variables.

**Example:**$3x + 4y = 12$. Here, $A = 3$, $B = 4$, and $C = 12$.

#### 2. Slope-Intercept Form:

The slope-intercept form is $y = mx + b$, where $m$ is the slope of the line and $b$ is the y-intercept. This form is particularly useful for graphing since $m$ tells you how steep the line is, and $b$ tells you where it crosses the y-axis.

**Example:**$y = 2x + 3$. Here, the slope $m = 2$, and the y-intercept $b = 3$.

#### 3. Point-Slope Form:

The point-slope form is $y – y_1 = m(x – x_1)$, where $(x_1, y_1)$ is a point on the line, and $m$ is the slope. This form is useful when you know a point on the line and the slope.

**Example:**If you know the line passes through the point (3,4) with a slope of 2, the equation would be $y – 4 = 2(x – 3)$.

#### 4. Intercept Form:

The intercept form of a linear equation is $x/a + y/b = 1$, where $a$ is the x-intercept and $b$ is the y-intercept. This form is useful when you know where the line intercepts the x and y axes.

**Example:**If a line intercepts the x-axis at 5 and the y-axis at 3, the equation is $x/5 + y/3 = 1$.

#### 5. Horizontal and Vertical Lines:

**Horizontal Lines:**These have the form $y = b$ where $b$ is a constant. The line is horizontal because it doesn’t change in the y-direction.**Example:**$y = -2$. This line crosses the y-axis at -2 and is parallel to the x-axis.

**Vertical Lines:**These have the form $x = a$ where $a$ is a constant. The line is vertical because it doesn’t change in the x-direction.**Example:**$x = 4$. This line crosses the x-axis at 4 and is parallel to the y-axis.

**Examples in Context**

**Budgeting:**If you have a budget of 500 dollars for your monthly expenses and you spend 60 dollars on each outing, your budget equation might look like $500 = 60n + other\ expenses$, where $n$ is the number of outings.**Cooking:**If a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour for every 3 cups of sugar to maintain the taste, the equation might be $flour = \frac{2}{3}sugar$.**Physics:**If you’re calculating distance over time at a constant speed, you might use $\mathrm{distance} = \mathrm{speed} \cdot \mathrm{time}$.

**Basic Steps to Solve**

**Identify the Equation:**Recognize the form $ ax + b = c $.**Isolate the Variable:**Get $ x $ by itself on one side.- Subtract or add numbers from both sides.
- Divide or multiply both sides by a number to get $ x = \mathrm{answer} $.

### Example:

Solve $ 3x + 4 = 10 $.

- Subtract 4 from both sides: $ 3x = 6 $.
- Divide by 3: $ x = 2 $.

## Techniques and Properties of Linear Equations

As we move to slightly more complex equations, understanding properties and techniques is key. Here are the key properties and techniques related to linear equations:

### Properties

**Addition Property:**If $ a = b $, then $ a + c = b + c $.**Multiplication Property:**If $ a = b $, then $ a \cdot c = b \cdot c $.**Absorption Property: Combining Like Terms:**Terms with the same variables and exponents can be combined. $ax + bx = (a + b)x$ or $ 3x + 4x = 7x $.- Commutative Property:
**Addition:**$a + b = b + a$. The order of addition doesn’t change the sum.**Multiplication:**$ab = ba$. The order of multiplication doesn’t change the product.

- Associative Property:
**Addition:**$(a + b) + c = a + (b + c)$. Grouping of addends doesn’t affect the sum.**Multiplication:**$(ab)c = a(bc)$. Grouping of factors doesn’t affect the product.

- Distributive Property:
**Over Addition/Subtraction:**$a(b + c) = ab + ac$ and $a(b – c) = ab – ac$. Distributes multiplication over addition or subtraction.

- Identity Property:
**Additive Identity:**$a + 0 = a$. Adding zero to a number doesn’t change its value.**Multiplicative Identity:**$a \cdot 1 = a$. Multiplying a number by one doesn’t change its value.

- Inverse Property:
**Additive Inverse:**$a + (-a) = 0$. A number plus its negative is zero.**Multiplicative Inverse:**$a \cdot \frac{1}{a} = 1$ (for $a \neq 0$). A number times its reciprocal is one.

- Zero Property of Multiplication:
**Multiplying by Zero:**$a \cdot 0 = 0$. Any number multiplied by zero is zero.

- Property of Equality:
**Transitive Property:**If $a = b$ and $b = c$, then $a = c$.**Symmetric Property:**If $a = b$, then $b = a$.**Substitution Property:**If $a = b$, then $b$ can be substituted for $a$ in any expression.

- Property of Inequalities:
**Addition/Subtraction:**If $a > b$, then $a + c > b + c$ and $a – c > b – c$.**Multiplication/Division by a Positive Number:**If $a > b$ and $c > 0$, then $ac > bc$.**Multiplication/Division by a Negative Number:**If $a > b$ and $c < 0$, then $ac < bc$. (The inequality sign flips!)

- Absorption Property:
**Combining Like Terms:**Terms with the same variables and exponents can be combined. $ax + bx = (a + b)x$.

- Cancellation Property:
**For Addition/Subtraction:**If $a + b = a + c$, then $b = c$.**For Multiplication/Division:**If $ab = ac$ and $a \neq 0$, then $b = c$.

### Example:

Solve $ 2(x + 3) = 14 $.

- Distribute: $ 2x + 6 = 14 $.
- Subtract 6: $ 2x = 8 $.
- Divide by 2: $ x = 4 $.

## Solving Multi-Step Linear Equations

Now, let’s try a bit trickier linear equations with more steps and variables.

**These will be the steps involved:**

**Distribute**any numbers outside parentheses.**Combine like terms**on each side.**Isolate the variable**using addition or subtraction, then division or multiplication.

### Example:

Solve $ 3(2x – 4) + 6 = 24 $.

- Distribute: $ 6x – 12 + 6 = 24 $.
- Combine like terms: $ 6x – 6 = 24 $.
- Add 6 to both sides: $ 6x – 6 + 6 = 24 + 6$ => $ 6x = 30 $.
- Divide by 6 on both sides: $ x = 5 $.

## Advanced Techniques

**Systems of Linear Equations:**Solving for two or more variables. There are two key methods to solve these:**Substitution Method:**Replace one variable with an expression from another equation.**Elimination Method:**Add or subtract equations to eliminate a variable.

**Inequalities:**Similar to linear equations but with $ <, \leq, >, \geq $.

### System of Linear Equations

Solve the system:

- $ x + y = 5 $
- $ 2x – y = 6 $

**Substitution Method:**

- Solve the first equation for $ y $: $ y = 5 – x $.
- Substitute in the second equation: $ 2x – (5 – x) = 6 $.
- Solve for $ x $: $ x = 11/3 $.
- Substitute back to find $ y $.

**Elimination Method:**

- Multiply the first equation by 2: $ 2x + 2y = 10 $.
- Add to the second equation: $ 4x = 16 $.
- Solve for $ x $ and then $ y $.

### Inequalities Example:

Solve $ 3x + 2 > 8 $.

- Subtract 2: $ 3x > 6 $.
- Divide by 3 gives answer: $ x > 2 $.

Congratulations! You’ve now journeyed from the simplest linear equations to the more complex systems and inequalities of high school. Remember, practice is key, and each step you take builds on the last. Keep exploring, solving, and discovering the beauty of mathematics in linear equations!

## Example Problems for Solving Linear Equations

Now, go forth and solve with confidence and curiosity! Here are some problems for you to try:

### Problem 1: Basic Linear Equations

Solve for $ x $:

$$ 7x + 3 = 31 $$

### Problem 2: Negative Coefficients

Solve for $ x $:

$$ -5x + 9 = -16 $$

### Problem 3: Fractions

Solve for $ x $:

$$ \frac{2}{3}x – 5 = 1 $$

### Problem 4: Distributive Property

Solve for $ x $:

$$ 4(2x – 3) = 28 $$

### Problem 5: Variables on Both Sides

Solve for $ x $:

$$ 2x + 7 = 3x – 2 $$

### Problem 6: Combining Like Terms

Solve for $ x $:

$$ 3x + 5 + 7x – 2 = 45 $$

### Problem 7: Point-Slope Form to Slope-Intercept

Given a point (4, -2) and a slope of 3, write the equation in slope-intercept form.

### Problem 8: Systems of Equations

Solve the system of equations:

$$ x + y = 10$$

$$ 2x – y = 3$$

### Problem 9: Inequalities

Solve for $ x $:

$$ 4x – 7 > 9 $$

### Problem 10: Word Problem

A school is selling tickets for a play. Student tickets cost 5 dollars and adult tickets cost 8 dollars. If they sell a total of 20 tickets and collect 130 dollars, how many of each type of ticket did they sell?

### Additional things to do

- Show all your work for each problem.
- Check your solution by substituting it back into the original equation.
- For inequalities, graph the solution set on a number line.
- For the word problem, define variables, write an equation, and clearly state your answer.

These problems will help students practice a range of skills, from basic linear equation solving to dealing with fractions, distributive property, and even stepping into real-world applications with word problems. Keep practicing with different types of equations to build confidence. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re stuck.