Combining Like Terms and Distributive Property: Algebra

Greetings math peeps! In today’s post, we are going to review some of the basics: combining like terms and distributive property. It’s so important to master the basics such as these, so you’re prepared and ready to handle the harder stuff that’s just around the corner, trust me they’re coming! And for those who already feel comfortable with these topics, great! Skip ahead and try the practice questions at the bottom of this post and happy calculating! 🙂

When do we combine “like terms?”

Combining like terms allows us to simplify and calculate our answer with terms that have the same variable and same exponent values only. For example, we can combine the following expression:

distributive property and combining like terms

How do we combine like terms?

We add or subtract the whole number coefficients and keep the variable they have in common.

distributive property and combining like terms
distributive property and combining like terms

Why? We could not add these two terms together because their variables do not match! 2 is multiplied by x, while 3 is multiplied by the variable xy.

distributive property and combining like terms

Why? We could not add these two terms together because their variables and exponents do not match! 2 is multiplied by x, while 3 is multiplied by the variable x^2 . Exponents for each variable must match to be considered like terms.

Distributive Property:

Combining like terms and the distributive property go hand in hand.  The distributive property rule states the following:

distributive property and combining like terms

There are no like terms to combine in the example above, but let’s see what it would like to use the distributive property and combine like terms at the same time with the following examples:

Example #1:

distributive property and combining like terms

Example #2:

In some cases, we also have to distribute the -1 that can sometimes “hide” behind a parenthesis.

distributive property and combining like terms

Try the following questions on your own on combining like terms and the distributive property and check out the video above for more!

Practice Questions:

Solutions:

Still got questions? No problem! Don’t hesitate to comment with any questions or check out the video above. Happy calculating! 🙂

Looking to review more of the basics? Check out this post on graphing equations of a line y=mx+b here.

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Imaginary and Complex Numbers: Algebra 2/Trig.

Happy Wednesday and back to school season math friends! This post introduces imaginary and complex numbers when raised to any power exponent and when multiplied together as a binomial. When it comes to all types of learners, we got you between the video, blog post, and practice problems below. Happy calculating! 🙂

What are Imaginary Numbers?

Imaginary numbers happen when there is a negative under a radical and looks something like this:

Imaginary and Complex Numbers

Why does this work?

In math, we cannot have a negative under a radical because the number under the square root represents a number times itself, which will always give us a positive number.

Example:

Imaginary and Complex Numbers
complex numbers algebra 2

But wait, there’s more:

When raised to a power, imaginary numbers can have the following different values:

Imaginary and Complex Numbers

Knowing these rules, we can evaluate imaginary numbers, that are raised to any value exponent! Take a look below:

complex numbers algebra 2

-> We use long division, and divide our exponent value 54, by 4.

Imaginary and Complex Numbers

-> Now take the value of the remainder, which is 2, and replace our original exponent. Then evaluate the new value of the exponent based on our rules.

Imaginary and Complex Numbers

What are Complex Numbers?

Complex numbers combine imaginary numbers and real numbers within one expression in a+bi form. For example, (3+2i) is a complex number. Let’s evaluate a binomial multiplying two complex numbers together and see what happens:

-> There are several ways to multiply these complex numbers together. To make it easy, I’m going to show the Box method below:

Try mastering imaginary and complex numbers on your own with the questions below!

Practice:

complex numbers algebra 2

Solutions:

complex numbers algebra 2

Still got questions? No problem! Don’t hesitate to comment with any questions or check out the video above. Don’t forget to sign up for FREE weekly MathSux videos, lessons, and practice questions. Thanks for stopping by and happy calculating! 🙂

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Also, if you’re looking to learn more about dividing polynomials, check out this post here!

How to Construct an Equilateral Triangle?: Geometry

Happy Wednesday math peeps! This post introduces constructions by showing us how to construct an equilateral triangle by using a compass and a ruler. For anyone new to constructions, this is the perfect topic for art aficionados since there is more drawing than there is actual math. 

What is an Equilateral Triangle?

Equilateral Triangle: A triangle with three equal sides.  Not an easy one to forget, the equilateral triangle is super easy to construct given the right tools (compass+ ruler). Take a look below:

how to construct an equilateral triangle

Now, for our Example:

how to construct an equilateral triangle

Solution:

How to Construct an Equilateral Triangle

What’s Happening in this GIF? 

1. Using a compass, measure out the distance of line segment  Screen Shot 2020-08-25 at 4.19.02 PM.

 2. With the compass on point A, draw an arc that has the same distance as Screen Shot 2020-08-25 at 4.19.02 PM.

 3. With the compass on point B, draw an arc that has the same distance as Screen Shot 2020-08-25 at 4.19.02 PM.

4. Notice where the arcs intersect? Using a ruler, connect points A and B to the new point of intersection. This will create two new equal sides of our triangle!

Still got questions? No problem! Don’t hesitate to comment with any questions. Happy calculating! 🙂

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Looking to learn more about triangles? Check out this post on right triangle trigonometry here!

Expanding Cubed Binomials: Algebra 2/Trig.

Greetings math friends! This post will go over expanding cubed binomials using two different methods to get the same answer. We’re so used to seeing squared binomials such as, Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 11.29.14 AM.png, and expanding them without a second thought.  But what happens when our reliable squared binomials are now raised to the third power, such as,Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 11.29.48 AM?  Luckily for us, there is a Rule we can use:

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.12.33 PM

But where did this rule come from?  And how can we so blindly trust it? In this post we will prove why the above rule works for expanding cubed binomials using 2 different methods:

Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 11.31.13 AM

Why bother? Proving this rule will allow us to expand and simplify any cubic binomial given to us in the future! And since we are proving it 2 different ways, you can choose the method that best works for you.

Method #1: The Box Method

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.14.37 PM

Step 1: First, focus on the left side of the equation by expanding (a+b)3:

Expanding Cubed Binomials

Step 2: Now we are going to create our first box, multiplying (a+b)(a+b). Notice we put each term of (a+b) on either side of the box. Then multiplied each term where they meet.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.15.50 PM

Step 3: Combine like terms ab and ab, then add each term together to get a2+2ab+b2.

Expanding Cubed Binomials

Step 4: Multiply (a2+2ab+b2)(a+b) making a bigger box to include each term.

Expanding Cubed Binomials

Step 5: Now combine like terms (2a2b and a2b) and (2ab2 and ab2), then add each term together and get our answer: a3+3a2b+3ab2+b3.

Expanding Cubed Binomials
Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.21.05 PM.png

Method #2: The Distribution Method

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.17.54 PM.png

Let’s expand the cubed binomial using the distribution method step by step below:

Expanding Cubed Binomials
Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.21.05 PM.png

Now that we’ve gone over 2 different methods of cubic binomial expansion, try the following practice questions on your own using your favorite method!

Practice Questions: Expand and simplify the following.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.21.56 PM

Solutions:

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.22.19 PM.png

Still, got questions?  No problem! Check out the video above or comment below! Happy calculating! 🙂

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**Bonus: Test your skills with this Regents question on Binomial Cubic Expansion!

How to use Recursive Formulas?: Algebra

Welcome to Mathsux! This post is going to show you everything you need to know about Recursive Formulas by looking at three different examples. Check out the video below for more of an explanation and test your skills with the practice questions at the bottom of this page.  Happy calculating! 🙂

What is a Recursive Formula?

A Recursive Formula is a type of formula that forms a sequence based on the previous term value.  What does that mean?  Check out the example below for a clearer picture:

Example #1:

recursive formula

-> First, let’s decode what these formulas are saying.

recursive formulas
algebra 2 recursive formula
recursive formula examples

-> We found the sequence 2, 6, 10, 14, 18. Since we only needed the fifth term to answer our question, we know our solution is 18.

Example #2:

-> First, let’s decode what these formulas are saying.

algebra 2 recursive formula
algebra 2 recursive formula
algebra 2 recursive formula

***Note this was written in a different notation but is solved in the exact same way!

-> We found the sequence 1,3,9. Since we only needed to find the third term to answer our questions, we know our solution is 9.

-> First, let’s decode what these formulas are saying.

-> We found the sequence 4,10, 28. Since we only needed to find the third term to answer our question, we know the solution is 28.

algebra 2 recursive formula

Practice Questions:

Solutions:

algebra 2 recursive formula

Still got questions? No problem! Check out the video above for more or try the NYS Regents question below, and please don’t hesitate to comment with any questions. Happy calculating! 🙂

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***Bonus! Want to test yourself with a similar NYS Regents question on Recursive Formulas?  Click here!

Reflections: Geometry

Greetings and welcome to Mathsux! Today we are going to go over reflections, one of the many types of transformations that come up in geometry.  And thankfully, it is one of the easiest transformation types to master, especially if you’re more of a visual learner/artistic type person. So let’s get to it!

What are Reflections?

Reflections on a coordinate plane are exactly what you think! When a point, a line segment, or a shape is reflected over a line it creates a mirror image.  Think the wings of a butterfly, a page being folded in half, or anywhere else where there is perfect symmetry.

Example:

Screen Shot 2020-08-04 at 5.19.40 PM

Step 1: First, let’s draw in line x=-2.

reflections

Step 2: Find the distance each point is from the line x=-2 and reflect it on the other side, measuring the same distance. First, let’s look at point C, notice it’s 1 unit away from the line x=-2, to reflect it we are going to count 1 unit to the left of the line x=-2 and label our new point, C|.

reflections

Step 3: Next we reflect point A in much the same way! Notice that point A is 2 units away on the left of line x=-2, we then measure 2 units to the right of our line and mark our new point, A|.

reflections

Step 4: Lastly, we reflect point B. This time, point B is 1 unit away on the right side of the line x=-2, we then measure 1 unit to the opposite side of our line and mark our new point, B|.

reflections

Step 5: Finally, we can now connect all of our new points, for our fully reflected triangle A|B|C|.

Practice Questions:

reflections

Solutions:

Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video above or comment below! Happy calculating! 🙂

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Looking to review rotations about a point? Check out this post here!

Piecewise Functions: Algebra

Greetings, today’s post is for those in need of a piecewise functions review!  This will cover how to graph each part of that oh so intimidating piecewise functions.  There’s x’s, there are commas, there are inequalities, oh my! We’ll figure out what’s going on here and graph each part of the piecewise-function one step at a time.  Then check yourself with the practice questions at the end of this post. Happy calculating! 🙂

piecewise functions

What are Piece-Wise Functions?

Exactly what they sound like! A function that has multiple pieces or parts of a function.  Notice our function below has different pieces/parts to it.  There are different lines within, each with their own domain.

Now let’s look again at how to solve our example, solving step by step:

piecewise functions example
Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 10.02.41 AM
piecewise functions

Translation: We are going to graph the line f(x)=x+1 for the domain where x > 0

To make sure all our x-values are greater than or equal to zero, we create a table plugging in x-values greater than or equal to zero into the first part of our function, x+1.  Then plot the coordinate points x and y on our graph.

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 10.04.33 AM
Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 10.05.00 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 10.06.46 AM

Translation: We are going to graph the line  f(x)=x-3 for the domain where x < 0.

To make sure all our x-values are less than zero, let’s create a table plugging in negative x-values values leading up to zero into the second part of our function, x-3.  Then plot the coordinate points x and y on our graph.

piecewise functions
Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 10.07.57 AM

Ready to try the practice problems below on your own!?

Practice Questions:

Graph each piecewise function:

piecewise functions examples

Solutions:

piecewise functions examples
piecewise functions examples

Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video above or comment below for any questions. Happy calculating! 🙂

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***Bonus! Want to test yourself with a similar NYS Regents question on piecewise functions?  Click here.

Intersecting Secants Theorem: Geometry

Ahoy! Today we’re going to cover the Intersecting Secants Theorem!  If you forgot what a secant is in the first place, don’t worry because all it is a line that goes through a circle.  Not so scary right? I was never scared of lines that go through circles before, no reason to start now.

If you have any questions about anything here, don’t hesitate to comment below and check out my video for more of an explanation. Stay positive math peeps and happy calculating! 🙂

Wait, what are Secants?

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 10.07.54 PM

Intersecting Secants Theorem: When secants intersect an amazing thing happens! Their line segments are in proportion, meaning we can use something called the Intersecting Secants Theorem to find missing line segments.  Check it out below: 

Intersecting Secants Theorem

Let’s now see how we can apply the intersecting Secants Theorem to find missing length.

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 10.45.29 PM.png

Step 1: First, let’s write our formula for Intersecting Secants.

Intersecting Secants Theorem

Step 2: Now fill in our formulas with the given values and simplify.

Intersecting Secants Theorem

Step 3: All we have to do now is solve for x! I use the product.sum method here, but choose the factoring method that best works for you!

Intersecting Secants Theorem

Step 4: Since we have to reject one of our answers, that leaves us with our one and only solution x=2.

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 10.14.41 PM.png

Ready to try the practice problems below on your own!?

Practice Questions: Find the value of the missing line segments x.

Intersecting Secants Theorem
Intersecting Secants Theorem

Solutions:

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 9.30.55 AM.png

Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video above or comment below for any questions and follow for the latest MathSux posts. Happy calculating! 🙂

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To review a similar NYS Regents question check out this post here.

Absolute Value Equations: Algebra

Happy Wednesday math friends! Today, we’re going to go over how to solve absolute value equations.  Solving for absolute value equations supplies us with the magic of two potential answers since absolute value is measured by the distance from zero.  And if this sounds confusing, fear not, because everything is explained below!

Also, if you have any questions about anything here, don’t hesitate to comment. Happy calculating! 🙂

Absolute Value measures the “absolute value” or absolute distance from zero.  For example, the absolute value of 4 is 4 and the absolute value of -4 is also 4.  Take a look at the number line below for a clearer picture:

Absolute Value

Now let’s see how we can apply our knowledge of absolute value equations when there is a missing variable!Absolute Value Equations exampleScreen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.03.46 PM.pngAbsolute Value EquationsScreen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.04.26 PM.pngAbsolute Value Equations

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.05.17 PM.png

Absolute Value EquationsNow let’s look at a slightly different example:

Absolute Value Equations exampleScreen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.07.59 PM

Absolute Value Equations

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.08.26 PM.png

Absolute Value Equations

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.09.33 PMAbsolute Value Equations Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 2.10.39 PM.pngAbsolute Value Equations

Practice Questions: Given the following right triangles, find the missing lengths and side angles rounding to the nearest whole number.

Absolute Value Equations examples

Solutions:

Absolute Value Equations solutions

Still got questions?  No problem! Check out the video the same examples outlined above. Happy calculating! 🙂

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Also, if you’re looking for a review on combining like terms and the distributive property, check out this post here.