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Algebraic Expressions and Equations: Terminology Associated with Equations

Module by: Wade Ellis, Denny Burzynski. E-mail the authors

Summary: This module is from Elementary Algebra by Denny Burzynski and Wade Ellis, Jr. Operations with algebraic expressions and numerical evaluations are introduced in this chapter. Coefficients are described rather than merely defined. Special binomial products have both literal and symbolic explanations and since they occur so frequently in mathematics, we have been careful to help the student remember them. In each example problem, the student is "talked" through the symbolic form. Objectives of this module: be able to identify the independent and dependent variables of an equation, be able to specify the domain of an equation.

Overview

  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • The Domain of an Equation

Independent and Dependent Variables

Independent and Dependent Variables

In an equation, any variable whose value can be freely assigned is said to be an independent variable. Any variable whose value is determined once the other values have been assigned is said to be a dependent variable. Two examples will help illustrate these concepts.

  1. Consider the equation y=2x7 y=2x7 . If we are free to choose values for x x , then x x would be considered the independent variable. Since the value of y y depends on the value of x x , y y would be the dependent variable.
  2. Consider the equation m=4g k 2 m=4g k 2 . If we are free to choose values for both g g and k k , then g g and k k would be considered independent variables. Since the value of m m depends on the values chosen for g g and k k , m m would be the dependent variable.

The Domain of an Equation

Domain

The process of replacing letters with numbers is called numerical evaluation. The collection of numbers that can replace the independent variable in an equation and yield a meaningful result is called the domain of the equation. The domain of an equation may be the entire collection of real numbers or may be restricted to some subcollection of the real numbers. The restrictions may be due to particular applications of the equation or to problems of computability.

Sample Set A

Find the domain of each of the following equations.

Example 1

y= 2 x y= 2 x , where x x is the independent variable.

Any number except 0 can be substituted for x x and yield a meaningful result. Hence, the domain is the collection of all real numbers except 0.

Example 2

d=55t d=55t , where t t is the independent variable and the equation relates time, t t , and distance, d d .

It makes little sense to replace t t by a negative number, so the domain is the collection of all real numbers greater than or equal to 0.

Example 3

k= 2w w4 k= 2w w4 , where the independent variable is w w .

The letter w w can be replaced by any real number except 4 since that will produce a division by 0. Hence, the domain is the collection of all real numbers except 4.

Example 4

a=5 b 2 +2b6 a=5 b 2 +2b6 , where the independent variable is b b .

We can replace b b by any real number and the expression 5 b 2 +2b6 5 b 2 +2b6 is computable. Hence, the domain is the collection of all real numbers.

Practice Set A

Find the domain of each of the following equations. Assume that the independent variable is the variable that appears in the expression on the right side of the " = = " sign.

Exercise 1

y=5x+10 y=5x+10

Solution

all real numbers

Exercise 2

y= 5 x y= 5 x

Solution

all real numbers except 0

Exercise 3

y= 3+x x y= 3+x x

Solution

all real numbers except 0

Exercise 4

y= 9 x6 y= 9 x6

Solution

all real numbers except 6

Exercise 5

m= 1 n+2 m= 1 n+2

Solution

all real numbers except 2 2

Exercise 6

s= 4 9 t 2 s= 4 9 t 2 , where this equation relates the distance an object falls, s s , to the time, t t , it has had to fall.

Solution

all real numbers greater than or equal to 0

Exercise 7

g= 4h7 21 g= 4h7 21

Solution

all real numbers

Exercises

For the following problems, find the domain of the equations. Assume that the independent variable is the variable that appears in the expression to the right of the equal sign.

Exercise 8

y=4x+7 y=4x+7

Solution

x=all real numbers x=all real numbers

Exercise 9

y=3x5 y=3x5

Exercise 10

y= x 2 +2x9 y= x 2 +2x9

Solution

x=all real numbers x=all real numbers

Exercise 11

y=8 x 3 6 y=8 x 3 6

Exercise 12

y=11x y=11x

Solution

x=all real numbers x=all real numbers

Exercise 13

s=7t s=7t

Exercise 14

y= 3 x y= 3 x

Solution

x=all real numbers except zero x=all real numbers except zero

Exercise 15

y= 2 x y= 2 x

Exercise 16

m= 16 h m= 16 h

Solution

h=all real numbers except zero h=all real numbers except zero

Exercise 17

k= 4 t 2 t1 k= 4 t 2 t1

Exercise 18

t= 5 s6 t= 5 s6

Solution

s=all real numbers except 6 s=all real numbers except 6

Exercise 19

y= 12 x+7 y= 12 x+7

Exercises for Review

Exercise 20

((Reference)) Name the property of real numbers that makes 4y x 2 =4 x 2 y 4y x 2 =4 x 2 y a true statement.

Solution

commutative property of multiplication

Exercise 21

((Reference)) Simplify x 5n+6 x 4 x 5n+6 x 4 .

Exercise 22

((Reference)) Supply the missing phrase. Absolute value speaks to the question of

          
and not "which way."

Solution

"how far"

Exercise 23

((Reference)) Find the product. (x8) 2 (x8) 2 .

Exercise 24

((Reference)) Find the product. (4x+3)(4x3) (4x+3)(4x3) .

Solution

16 x 2 9 16 x 2 9

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