Algebra 1 Tutorial

Intro

The distributive property is used in algebra to simplify a term. One part of the term will be the coefficient (the number on the outside), and the other will be the brackets (the numbers within the brackets). Any of these numbers could be a variable (an unknown number).
For example:
6(x+2)

When there is no operation (addition, subtraction, etc.) between a number and a bracket, we know that it means multiplication. So, we would read this as six times “x” plus 2.
Following the order of operations, we would first look within the brackets. We see that there are no common terms, so that is finished. Next, outside of the brackets we see there are operations to be done. See the example below.

6(x+2)

Solution

First, we multiple the 6 by both the x and the 2; we are distributing the six throughout the brackets, to each term individually:

6*x + 6*2

Now that the six is distributed, we will continue to simplify:

6x + 12

We cannot combine 6 and “x” therefore the first term becomes 6x. As for 6 and 2, we can multiply them! They then multiply together to be 12.
This is as simple as we can make the problem, as these are not like terms and there are no other operations. Done! 