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Create equations that describe numbers or relationships
An equation is a statement of equality between two expressions, often viewed as a question asking for which values of the variables the expressions on either side are in fact equal. These values are the solutions to the equation. An identity, in contrast, is true for all values of the variables; identities are often developed by rewriting an expression in an equivalent form.
The solutions of an equation in one variable form a set of numbers; the solutions of an equation in two variables form a set of ordered pairs of numbers, which can be plotted in the coordinate plane. Two or more equations and/or inequalities form a system. A solution for such a system must satisfy every equation and inequality in the system.
An equation can often be solved by successively deducing from it one or more simpler equations. For example, one can add the same constant to both sides without changing the solutions, but squaring both sides might lead to extraneous solutions. Strategic competence in solving includes looking ahead for productive manipulations and anticipating the nature and number of solutions.
Some equations have no solutions in a given number system, but have a solution in a larger system. For example, the solution of x + 1 = 0 is an integer, not a whole number; the solution of 2x + 1 = 0 is a rational number, not an integer; the solutions of x² – 2 = 0 are real numbers, not rational numbers; and the solutions of x² + 2 = 0 are complex numbers, not real numbers.
The same solution techniques used to solve equations can be used to rearrange formulas. For example, the formula for the area of a trapezoid, A = ((b1+b2)/2)h, can be solved for h using the same deductive process. Inequalities can be solved by reasoning about the properties of inequality. Many, but not all, of the properties of equality continue to hold for inequalities and can be useful in solving them.
Connections to Functions and Modeling. Expressions can define functions, and equivalent expressions define the same function. Asking when two functions have the same value for the same input leads to an equation; graphing the two functions allows for finding approximate solutions of the equation. Converting a verbal description to an equation, inequality, or system of these is an essential skill in modeling.
Standards in this Domain
MAT-HS.A-CED.01 - Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
MAT-HS.A-CED.02 - Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.
MAT-HS.A-CED.03 - Represent constraints by equations or inequalities, and by systems of equations and/or inequalities, and interpret solutions as viable or nonviable options in a modeling context.For example, represent inequalities describing nutritional and cost constraints on combinations of different foods.
MAT-HS.A-CED.04 - Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm's law V = IR to highlight resistance R.