# How to answer algebra questions

Equations involving decimal numbers are hard to do on your fingers...

I teach equations by starting with see-saws - and you can use this strategy to discuss them with your child.

### It's all about keeping the equation balanced

Everything to the left-hand side (LHS) of the equals sign in the question becomes the LHS of the see-saw and the right-hand side (RHS) of the question is the RHS of the see-saw. Therefore, 3.2 + x = 5.7 becomes...

There are two 'people' on the LHS, and one on the RHS. We don't want two on the LHS, we just want x on its own.

If we just lift 3.2 away, however, the see-saw becomes unbalanced and the equation breaks. We can't do this so if we lift 3.2 from the LHS, we **must** lift 3.2 from the RHS **at the same time. **We will take it from the 5.7.

Taking 3.2 from 5.7 is the same as subtracting so we could re-write the above as...

When we evaluate 5.7 - 3.2 we get ...

Lastly we **remember** to fill in the answer on the answer line...

You may not want to be drawing see-saws on your rough work in your test (but it would be no harm if you did) so you could eventaully move towards practising this with equations only...

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