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The Almighty Algebra

We live in a world full of unknowns. Algebra deals with the unknowns. I have been stressing this idea again and again, but I am going to say it again: The idea of introducing basic algebra using model method in primary schools is to help the students to get used to the type of questions.

Looking back at Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level) 3, the solution looks lengthy because of the additional explanation. But the question is just one of the simplest questions that you find in secondary Mathematics books.

Once you are familiar with algebra questions, you will have no problem solving questions with 2 unknowns. Slowly, you will encounter questions with 3 unknowns and more. I develop my love for Mathematics during the time when I solved Mathematics problems until midnight (It was because I had too much homework to do! It was not because the questions were difficult).

For the students who have taken their PSLE results and are going to Secondary 1 soon, please be prepared.

What you need to prepare yourself for Secondary Mathematics:

1. Revise the model method that you have learnt in Primary Mathematics.

2. By now, you know that an alphabet represents an unknown that needs to be solved.

The number of unknowns must be less than or equal to the number of equations, else you are not able to solve the question. Taking the example from Let’s Learn Mathematics (Primary Level) 3, the number of unknowns = 2 (the cost of a shirt and the cost of a pair of socks) and the number of equations =2, thus, we are able to solve the question.

In the case where you find more unknowns than the equations, there are two possibilities:

  • The question is wrong (it is very unlikely because you need to solve the question)
  • You have not understood the question fully. Please read the question again to find all the needed equations.

3. Develop a love for numbers. You see numbers everywhere, anything from time, money, house unit, bus number, etc relates to numbers. Your love for numbers helps you greatly in learning Mathematics, which involves both numbers and unknowns.

Hope you have a smooth sailing in your secondary school life.


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