## Stretch! It is good to be flexible.

In math, there are lots of ways to do the same thing. This can be a source of frustration or confusion. However, if you embrace the dynamics of math, you can use it to your advantage. When we recognize that there are several methods to arrive at the same solution, we can choose the course of "least resistance". Consider the following algegra problem: (1/2)x + (2/3) = (5/6)x - (1/8) Yuck! FRACTIONS!! Look at the following two solutions. We get the same answer either way. Does one seem easier to you? First approach: deal with the fractions We have variable terms on both sides of the equation. Let's subtract (1/2)x from both sides. (1/2)x - (1/2)x+ (2/3) = (5/6)x - (1/2)x- (1/8) Now, let's simplify. We need to combine the like variable terms. (5/6)x - (1/2) x = (1/3)x [see below for details]* This leaves 2/3 = (1/3)x - (1/8) We are trying to isolate the variable, x. So, let's add (1/8) to both sides. 2/3 + 1/8 = 1/3 x [For details of... read more