**well i really need help in my homework its 2 step equations 8th grade and one of the questions is a-4**

**5 = 12 i dont know what the variable is and i need to show my work!!**

Tutors, sign in to answer this question.

Hi Damon,

Are you asking (1) what a variable is or (2) how to find the value of the variable in your equation?

(1) What's a variable?

The "variable" is the part of the equation that hasn't been assigned a fixed value. In your example every number has been assigned a fixed value (4, 5, 12) except for "a". Variables like "a" are placeholders for numbers that may not be known yet, or that are expected take on more than one value (e.g. the "x" in the equation for a line: y = 2x + 1). You can think of variables like "reserved" signs on restaurant tables; they're saving spots for numbers that haven't gotten there yet. :)

(2) How do you solve for the variable in this equation?

"Solving" for a variable in an equation like the one you've posted here means finding the value(s) of the variable that makes your equation true. In your case: What value of "a" makes (a-4)/5 equal to 12? To find out, get "a" alone on the left-hand side of that equals sign:

(a - 4) / 5 = 12

a - 4 = 12 * 5

a = 12 * 5 + 4

a = 64

It's always a good idea to double check. Try plugging the value 64 into a's spot in the original equation, and seeing if the left and right sides of the equation are really equivalent. If so, you've found the right "a"!

(a - 4) / 5 = 12 becomes (64 - 4) / 5 = 12 ?

60 / 5 = 12 ?

12 = 12 ? Yes!

Since the value 64 makes the left and right hand sides of your equation match up, "a = 64" is an appropriate solution.

Happy algebra-ing,

Caitrin

Already have an account? Log in

By signing up, I agree to Wyzant’s terms of use and privacy policy.

Or

To present the tutors that are the best fit for you, we’ll need your ZIP code.

Your Facebook email address is associated with a Wyzant tutor account. Please use a different email address to create a new student account.

Good news! It looks like you already have an account registered with the email address **you provided**.

It looks like this is your first time here. Welcome!

To present the tutors that are the best fit for you, we’ll need your ZIP code.

Please try again, our system had a problem processing your request.

## Comments