# How to do combining like terms and distributive property

## Combining Like Terms with the Distributive Property

Practice expanding expressions using the distributive property then combining like terms.

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In a previous lesson, Combining Like Terms , students identified like terms and developed steps for simplifying algebraic expressions. The Do Now is an assessment of their understanding of like terms. Problems 2 and 3 display common mistakes made by students. It is important for students to be able to explain why these are not correct equations. This lesson is a continuation of Combining Like Terms , but I will introduce students to how the distributive property can be used to simplify expressions and combine like terms.

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When you were learning how to add or subtract numbers, you may have started with similar objects such as fruits. For instance, if there are three apples in a box and you place two more, how many apples are there? In algebra, this idea of adding apples can be represented using the simple equation below. Notice that we are able to combine the two terms, 3a and 2a because they have the same variable part which is a. Now, how about if we have apples and bananas? Can we simply add them too? The answer is NO.

## Like Terms and More on Solving Equations

Algebra Basics: The Distributive Property - Math Antics

## Distributive Property: 5 Clear Examples to Use in Class

The distributive property is the key to combining expressions with like terms. Why were these statements true? Terms are like terms when they have the exact same variables with the exact same exponents. Example: 4 a ,10 a , and a are all like terms because in all three expressions the variable is a and the exponent is 1. Example: 27 t 2 , t 2 , and 96 t 2 are all like terms because in all four of these expressions, the variable part is t and the exponent on t is 2. Example: 10 xy 2 and 17 x 2 y are not like terms because, although the variables are the same, x does not have the same exponent as x 2 , and the y 2 does not have the same power as y.

What is the distributive property? When you distribute something, you are dividing it into parts. In math, the distributive property helps simplify difficult problems because it breaks down expressions into the sum or difference of two numbers. Looking for a specific operation? Click the highlighted tabs and jump right to the:.

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