When you simplify something in mathematics, you make it more simple and short.
The addition problem 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = ? can, for instance, be simplified to 10, because 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10.
Simplifying is, however, most commonly used, when you are solving equations, or when you are making calculations containing mathematical expressions with letters.
It’s a very important discipline of mathematics. Especially in the higher grades you will take much advantage of it. But it can be difficult and requires some practice.
What are the parts of an addition or subtraction problem?
The numbers or terms that are added or subtracted are called the parts of the mathematical problem. They are also called addends or summands, if it’s an addition problem, and minuend and subtrahend, if it’s a subtraction problem.
In the mathematical problem above there are five parts. The parts to the left of the equal sign (1,2 and 3) are addends, and the parts to the right of the equal sign (10 and 4) are respectively minuend and subtrahend.
In a multiplication problem each part are called factors.
Here a, b and c are factors, because they are multiplied.
According to the commutative property of multiplication it won’t affect the product, if you change the order of the factors: