How To: Solve multi-step equations with absolute values

Solve multi-step equations with absolute values

This educational math video describes the steps necessary to solve an equation involving absolute values. "Absolute value" refers to the magnitude of a quantity and is always expressed as a positive number. You can think of absolute value as the distance a number would be from zero if plotted on a number line. Positive 17 and negative 17 both have the same absolute value because both are 17 units from zero on a number line. Because of this, all absolute value problems have two answers, one which produces a positive result and one which produces a negative result, except for problems whose result is equal to zero.

To solve an absolute value problem, first arrange the equation so that the absolute value quantity is on the left hand side of the equal sign and everything else is on the other. Step two is to rewrite the original equation twice - Remove the absolute value symbols and solve for a positive value on the right hand side, then negate the right hand side and solve again.

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