Example 2

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The following word problem is for practicing variable isolation in algebra problems.

Example 1:

An automobile factory is working a shortened schedule. The company expects to produce 4 more automobiles per day when the shortened schedule is no longer in effect. How many automobiles can the factory expect to produce if the normal schedule daily production is 20 automobiles?

This example problem logically states that 4 more than a number is equal to 20. If the variable "x" is used to represent the unknown number, the resulting algebraic equation looks like this:
x  +  4  =  20

This equation can be solved by isolating the variable "x" using algebraic methods. The terms on either side of the equals sign are mathematic reflections of each other. Therefore, the statement will remain true if the terms on both sides of the equal sign are altered in the same way. In order to isolate the variable, in this case 4 can be subtracted from both sides of the equation.
 x  +  4  =  20 The original equation -  4       -  4 Altered on both sides of the equal sign x  =  20  -  4 Isolates the variable x  =  16 The equation is solved

The factory can expect to produce 16 automobiles per day on the shortened schedule.