Students learn to solve equations with the distributive property. For example, to solve 39 = -2(a + 3) - 7a, first distribute through the parentheses, to get 39 = -2a - 6 - 7a. Next, combine like terms, to get 39 = -9a - 6. Next, add 6 to both sides of the equation, to get 45 = -9a. Finally, divide both sides of the equation by -9, to get -5 = a. Note that students check all solutions by substituting the solution back in for the variable or variables in the original equation.

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