Chapter 23

# Putting Mr. X to Work: Algebra Word Problems

In This Chapter

Solving algebra word problems in simple steps

Choosing variables

Using charts

Word problems that require algebra are among the toughest problems that students face — and the most common. Teachers just love algebra word problems because they bring together a lot of what you know, such as solving algebra equations (Chapters 21 and 22) and turning words into numbers (see Chapters 6, 13, and 18). And standardized tests virtually always include these types of problems.

In this chapter, I show you a five-step method for using algebra to solve word problems. Then I give you a bunch of examples that take you through all five steps.

Along the way, I give you some important tips that can make solving word problems easier. First, I show you how to choose a variable that makes your equation as simple as possible. Next, I give you practice organizing information from the problem into a chart. By the end of this chapter, you'll have a solid understanding of how to solve a wide variety of algebra word problems.

## Solving Algebra Word Problems in Five Steps

Everything from Chapters 21 and 22 comes into play when you use algebra ...