Algebra is a combination of:

- A notation system for representing quantitative relationships, and
- A set of rules for manipulating notation without changing the underlying quantitative relationship that it represents.

Why is algebra needed? Because:

- The notation provides a concise and commonly accepted way of accurately communicating quantitative relationships, and
- Changing the appearance of the notation describing a relationship, often repeatedly, allows us to develop insights into the relationship and/or determine the answer to quantitative problems.

While algebra may be “only a set of rules”, applying the rules effectively and efficiently in complex problems can often seem to be as much art as procedure. Having multiple approaches that can work sometimes makes a task more complex.

When students are first introduced to algebra, it is often with the short term goal of Continue reading What Is Algebra?