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Supporting Australian Mathematics Project: Middle years.

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Year 7

Number and Algebra

The laws of arithmetic and their use in algebra

Algebra is a fascinating and essential part of mathematics. It provides the written language in which mathematical ideas are described.

It was developed by Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (or simply Al-Khwarizmi) in about 830 BCE. His work was influential in the introduction of algebra into Europe in the early 13th century.

Al-Khwarizmi was a scholar at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. There, scholars translated Greek scientific manuscripts and wrote about algebra, geometry and astronomy. Al-Khwarizmi worked under the patronage of the Caliph, to whom he dedicated two of his texts – one on algebra and one on astronomy. The algebra text Hisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala is the most famous and most important of all of his works. It is the title of this text that gives us the word algebra.

In this module we will demonstrate that the familiar laws of arithmetic apply to algebraic expressions.