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Prealgebra: Operations

Introduction and Summary

Table of Contents

Terms

Almost all of mathematics involves the use of the four basic mathematical operations--addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Understanding these basic mathematical operations is crucial to everything covered both in Pre-Algebra and in more complicated mathematics. It is impossible to master the complex principles of Pre-Algebra without first mastering the operations and their properties.

You are probably used to working with the four basic operations, but there are some things about these operations that you may not know. In particular, these operations have certain properties that can make evaluating complex expressions a lot easier.

The first section will explain how to correctly evaluate a complicated expression using the Order of Operations, which specifies the order in which to carry out operations when evaluating an expression. The Order of Operations is important to know; if you do not follow it correctly and instead carry out the operations in the incorrect order, your answer will also be incorrect.

Section two will teach some properties of addition that will make it easier to evaluate an expression without depending on a calculator. These properties are the Commutative Property, the Associative Property, and the Identity Property.

The third section will teach some properties of multiplication. Like addition, multiplication has its own version of the Commutative Property, the Associative Property, and the Identity Property. Multiplication has two additional properties--the Zero Product Property and the Distributive Property.

The fourth and final section will discuss inverse operations, which "reverse" other operations. These will be especially useful for future algebra.

Each section will teach something about basic operations that will help you evaluate expressions correctly and easily. These properties will also be useful when you approach more difficult topics in pre-algebra, such as solving an algebraic equation for a variable.

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