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Algebra 1

Ch 3.4 – Solving Equations

with Variables on Both Sides
 Students will solve equations with
variables on both sides of the equation
Before we begin…
 In the last lesson we solved multi-step
 In this lesson we will continue that theme
with another variation of equations…that is,
equations that have variables on both sides
of the equals sign…
 In this lesson we will also look at equations
that have many solution or no solutions…
General Rule
 It really doesn’t matter which side you
collect the variable to….however, the
general rule for solving equations with
variables on both sides of the equals sign is
to collect the variables to the side with
the largest variable…
 The reason we use the general rule is to
minimize the amount of work with negative
numbers…students are not always proficient
with working with negative numbers….
Example 1
7x + 19 = - 2x + 55

Let’s analyze this equation first…

Deciding where to start….I see that on the left side is 7x and on the
right side is – 2x.
In this instance I will use the general rule and collect the x’s to the left
side of the equation…I do that by working on the right side of the
equation and by adding 2x to both sides of the equation…which looks
like this:

7x + 19 = - 2x + 55 The 2x’s on the

7x + 2x = 9x
right side cancel
+2x +2x
out leaving +55
9x + 19 = + 55

After collecting the variables to the right side I am left with a 2-step
equation. Add/Subtract first and then multiply or divide…
Example #1 (continued)
9x + 19 = + 55

In this 2-step equation to undo the +19, subtract 19 from both sides of
the equation

9x + 19 = + 55

- 19 -19

9x = 36
To undo the multiplication, divide both sides by 9
36 ÷ 9 = 4
9x = 36
The 9’s 9 9
cancel out
leaving x x = 4
Example #2
90 – 9y = 6y

Let’s analyze this equation…

I see that there is a – 9y on the left and a +6y on the right…I’m going to
make the decision to collect the variables to the right side of the equation.

To undo the – 9y, add 9y to both sides of the

equation…it looks like this:

90 – 9y = 6y 6y + 9y = 15y
The 9y’s
on the left + 9y +9y
cancel 90 = 15y
90 You are left with a 1 step equation…
Example #2 (continued)
90 = 15y

To undo the multiplication of 15y…divide both sides by 15

90 ÷ 15 = 6 90 = 15y The 15’s cancel

out leaving y
15 15

6 = y

The solution that will make the equation true is y = 6

Many or No Solutions
 When working with linear equations you will
come across situations in which there are
many or no solutions to the equation…
 Later on in the course when we plot systems
of equations you will find that the many or no
solution equations mean something…more
about that later in the course….
 Let’s look at some examples…
Equations with many solutions
3(x + 2) = 3x + 6

First, we have to analyze this equation and decide what we want to do…

Notice, that the distributive property is illustrated on the left side of the
equation…we must take care of that before we do anything else…

3(x + 2) = 3x + 6

Distribute the 3 on the left side of the equation to get:

3x + 6 = 3x + 6
Now you can collect the x’s to either side of the equation…I choose the left

3x + 6 = 3x + 6 The x’s on the

The x’s on the right cancel
- 3x -3x
left cancel each each other out
other out 6= 6 also
Equations with many solutions
6 = 6

What you are left with is a true statement 6 does equal 6

What does the solution mean?

Any value of x will make this a true statement

If you choose any number and

substitute it for x you will always
get a true statement

This type of linear equation is called an identity

Equations with no solutions

Again, we should analyze the equation first…

I notice that there is an x on both sides of the equation…It doesn’t

matter which side you collect the variables to….I will collect them
to the left side like this:
-x -x

2= 4

I am left with the statement 2 = 4. This is not a true statement. To

write this correctly you would use the symbol ≠ as follows:

2≠ 4
Equations with no solutions
2≠ 4

What does it mean?

In this equation, no value of x will make this a true statement

The solution is written as no solution

Solving Complex Equations
 Ok…you have all the information you need to
solve any equation…
 The key is to analyze the equation first and make
some decisions…
 It’s ok if you don’t get it right the first time…go
back and problem solve to see where you made
your error…
 I will walk you through a more complex equation
so that you can see my thought process..
Example #3
4(1 –x) + 3x = -2(x – 1)

Ok…I notice right off that I have the distributive property on both the left
and right side of the equation….
Don’t forget…at the level you are required to be able to recognize
and know how to work with the distributive property….
I must take care of the distributive property first before I do anything else

4(1 –x) + 3x = -2(x – 1) Don’t forget that

-2 times -1 = +2
4 – 4x + 3x = -2x + 2

Ok…now I see that I have multiple x’s on the left side and -2x on
the right…I’m going to make the decision to combine the x’s on the
left before I collect all the x’s to the same side… My new equation
will look like this…..
Example #3 (continued)
4 – 4x + 3x = -2x + 2

4 – x = -2x + 2

-4x + 3x = -1x.
We write -1x as Ok…now I have x’s on both sides of the equation…
just -x
I need to get the x’s on the same side…I am going to use the
general rule and collect the x’s to the left side….that’s because
–x is bigger than -2x and I don’t want to have to work with
negative numbers…to undo the -2x add 2x to both sides…

4 – x = -2x + 2 The 2x’s cancel

-x + 2x = +1x.
This is written +2x +2x out leaving 2
as just +x
4+x = +2
Example #3 (continued)
4+x = +2

Ok…now all I have to do is isolate the x on the left and I have the
solution….to undo the +4, subtract 4 from both sides of the
equation….like this…
4+x = +2
-4 -4
The 4’s on the left
cancel out leaving
just x x = -2

The solution that makes the equation true is x = -2

Reminder: Your answer must always be stated as a positive variable, If you

have a negative variable you have to do something to make it positive!
 On the next couple of slides are some practice
problems…The answers are on the last slide…

 Do the practice and then check your

answers…If you do not get the same answer
you must question what you did…go back and
problem solve to find the error…

 If you cannot find the error bring your work to

me and I will help…
Your Turn

1. 4x + 27 = 3x
2. -2m = 16m – 9
3. 12c – 4 = 12c
4. 12p – 7 = - 3p + 8
5. -7 + 4m = 6m - 5
Your Turn

1. 24 – 6r = (4 – r)
2. -4(x – 3) = -x
3. -2(6 – 10n) = 10(2n – 6)
4. ¼ (60 + 16s) = 15 + 4s
5. ¾ (24 – 8b) = 2(5b + 1)
Your Turn Solutions

1. -27 1. Identity; all real

2. ½ numbers
3. No solution 2. 4
4. 1 3. No solution
5. -1 4. Identity; all real
5. 1
 A key tool in making learning effective is being
able to summarize what you learned in a lesson in
your own words…
 In this lesson we talked about Solving Equations
with Variables on Both Sides. Therefore, in
your own words summarize this lesson…be sure
to include key concepts that the lesson covered as
well as any points that are still not clear to you…
 I will give you credit for doing this lesson…please
see the next slide…
 I will add 25 points as an assignment grade for you working on
this lesson…
 To receive the full 25 points you must do the following:
 Have your name, date and period as well a lesson number as a
 Do each of the your turn problems showing all work
 Have a 1 paragraph summary of the lesson in your own words
 Please be advised – I will not give any credit for work
 Without a complete heading
 Without showing work for the your turn problems
 Without a summary in your own words…