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## JSS1: MATHEMATICS - 2ND TERM

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Lesson 2, Topic 1
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# Variables & Coefficients of Algebraic Expressions

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In Mathematics, a variable is a quantity that can change. Letters are used to represent these changing, unknown quantities in arithmetic, 4 x 2  is a short way of writing  4  +  4.

Similarly, in algebra, 5 x a is a short form for  $$\scriptsize a \: + \: a \: + \: a \: + \: a \: + \: a$$

We usually shorten $$\scriptsize 5 \: \times \: a \: to \: 5a$$

$$\scriptsize 5a \\ \scriptsize= 5 \: \times \: a \\ \scriptsize = a \: + \: a \: + \: a \: + \: a \: + \: a$$

### Example

Write down the coefficients of the following expressions:

i. 3a – 5b
ii. 6d2 + 2d
iii. -18ab2
iv. x2 – xy3

Solution

i. The coefficient of a = 3, b = – 5

ii. The coefficient of d2 = 6, d = 2

iii. The coefficient of ab2 = -18

iv. The coefficient of x2 = 1, xy3 = -1