Algebra is a branch of Mathematics which deals with structures utilizing letters and symbols to represent specific values and their relations to each other. Basic Algebra deals with natural numbers, which are generally positive integers, and their arithmetical operation, while the more complex rules and properties of these mathematical structures are explored in Number Theory. Thus, it can be seen that Algebra is essentially a study of arithmetic computations with non-numerical mathematical objects.
Consider the following equation:
3x+4 = 9
x is the unknown
3, 4 and 9 are the known natural numbers
Through the use of algebra, the unknown value in the above equation can be solved. One important rule to remember is that an algebraic equation represents a scale, so an operation done to one side must be done to the other. Thus, for the above equation, we can isolate x by subtracting 4 from both sides, then divide both sides by 3:
3x+4(-4) = 9(-4)
3x = 5
x = 5/3
Thus, it can be seen that by understanding algebra and its operations is extremely important for all facets of mathematics.