Abigail buys 2 shirts at $12 apiece. She also buys a pair of jeans that were originally $50 but are discounted by 15%. If her total purchase is over $60, she will get an additional $10 off. How much was her bill?
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James Sousa: The Order of Operations
Guidance
The properties of algebra enable us to solve mathematical equations. Notice that these properties hold for addition and multiplication.
Property  Example 

Commutative  
Associative  
Identity  
Inverse  
Distributive 
From the Identity Property, we can say that 0 is the additive identity and 1 is the multiplicative identity. Similarly, from the Inverse Property, is the additive inverse of and is the multiplicative inverse of because they both equal the identity.
Example A
Identify the property used in the equations below.
a)
b)
c)
Solution:
a) is an example of the Distributive Property,
b) is an example of the Inverse Property, and
c) is an example of the Associative Property.
More Guidance
Going along with the properties of algebra, are the Order of Operations. The Order of Operations is a set of guidelines that allow mathematicians to perform problems in the exact same way. The order is as follows:
Parenthesis Do anything in parenthesis first.
Exponents Next, all powers (exponents) need to be evaluated.
Multiplication/Division Multiplication and division must be done at the same time, from left to right, because they are inverses of each other.
Addition/Subtraction Addition and subtraction are also done together, from left to right.
Example B
Simplify .
Solution:
Parenthesis
Exponents
Multiplication
Add/Subtract
Example C
Simplify .
Solution: Think of everything in the numerator in its own set of parenthesis as well as everything in the denominator. The problem can be rewritten as . When there are multiple operations in a set of parenthesis, use the Order of Operations within each set.
Parenthesis can also be written within another set of parenthesis. This is called embedding parenthesis. When embedded parenthesis are in a problem, you may see brackets, [ ], in addition to parenthesis.
Intro Problem Revisit If we don't have the Order of Operations, Abigail could get very confused and not have the right amount of money to pay for her items. So, the two shirts are $24 and only the jeans are discounted. They are . Adding these two items together, we get that her total bill is $24 + $42.50 = $66.50. So, because her purchase is over $60, she gets an additional $10 off, making her final bill $56.50.
Guided Practice
What property is being used?
1.
2.
3. Use the Order of Operations to simplify .
Answers
1. 5 is being distributed to each term inside the parenthesis, therefore the Distributive Property is being used.
2. Here, order does not matter when multiplying 6 and 7. This is an example of the Commutative Property.
3. This is an example of embedded parenthesis, as discussed above. Start by simplifying the parenthesis that are inside the brackets. Then, simplify what is inside the brackets according to the Order of Operations.
Explore More
Determine which algebraic property is being used below.
 What is the additive inverse of 1?
 What is the multiplicative inverse of ?

Simplify
using:
 the Distributive Property
 the Order of Operations
 Do you get the same answer? Why do you think that is?
Simplify the following expressions using the Order of Operations.
 Using #18 above, insert parenthesis to make the expression equal 1. You may need to use more than one set of parenthesis.
 Using #18 above, insert parenthesis to make the expression equal 23. You may need to use more than one set of parenthesis.