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Interactive video lesson plan for: ❤︎² Solving Systems of Equations... Elimination Method (mathbff)

Activity overview:

MIT grad shows how to use the elimination method to solve a system of linear equations (aka. simultaneous equations). More videos with Nancy coming in 2017! To skip ahead: 1) For a BASIC example where terms cancel right away when you add the equations, skip to 0:25. 2) For an example in which you have to MULTIPLY ONE EQUATION by a number before adding the equations, skip to time 6:26. 3) For an example in which you have to MULTIPLY BOTH EQUATIONS by numbers before adding, skip to 12:12. P.S.) For HOW TO SUBTRACT equations instead of adding them, if you'd rather do that, skip to 18:00.

For how to solve a system of linear equations by the SUBSTITUTION METHOD, jump to: https://youtu.be/kf-o_CcTKH8

What does it mean to solve a system of equations using the elimination method? It means to solve for the x and y values that make both equations true, using the elimination method. Elimination is just one way of solving (substitution is another way) and is sometimes called linear combination. Here's how:

1) BASIC ELIMINATION: First, make sure the equations are ordered in the same way, with their like terms lined up vertically. Then, try adding the equations (vertically) to make a new equation. If a term in the first equation has the same number coefficient but opposite sign (like 5y and -5y), then adding the equations will mean that those terms cancel. Since those terms disappear (in the example, 5y and -5y), there is just the variable x left in the equation so you can solve for x. Once you solve for x, you can take that number and plug it in for x in either of the original equations in the system, to solve for the other variable, y. The (x,y) pair is your solution.

2) MULTIPLY ONE EQUATION BEFORE ADDING: Sometimes terms don't immediately cancel when you add the two equations. What do you do then? Try multiplying one of the equations by a number (both the left and right sides) to make either the x terms or y terms have similar coefficients (but opposite sign), like positive 4x and negative 4x. Then add the two equations (the new version) and follow the same steps as in the first example.

3) MULTIPLY BOTH EQUATIONS BEFORE ADDING: If it does not help to just multiply one equation by a number, you may need to multiply both equations, separately, by numbers. If you check to see whether you can just multiply one equation by a number and add opposite terms/eliminate a variable, and it is not possible, then aim for an LCM, or least common multiple, by multiplying each equation by a different number, and then adding the equations.

P.S.) YES, YOU CAN SUBTRACT INSTEAD (if you want): If you have a system that has the exact same x terms or exact same y terms in both equations, if you prefer, you can just subtract the equations. Alternatively, if you still wanted to add the equations, you could just multiply one of the equations by -1 first and then add the equations and solve normally.

IMPORTANT: If you get something like 0 = 0 or 8 = 8, or something like 1 = 2 or 0 = 21 when you are following these steps and trying to solve, then you have probably found a special case. If you get something TRUE like 0 = 0 (a number equals the same number), then there are an infinite number of solutions to the system, and you can just write "infinitely-many solutions". If instead you get something FALSE like 0 = 21, then there is no solution (inconsistent system), and you can write "no solution".

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