Tutor profile: Kadie B.
Subject: Basic Chemistry
How do I balance a chemical equation?
I like to look at a chemical equation like a math equation because you already know the rules. A coefficient is the same as a number outside of the parentheses, so as you know, that number is multiplied through all of the terms inside. In this case, the inside numbers are the subscripts, which say how many of each atom there are, and they come after the element symbol. So if you have 5H2O, there are 5*2 Hydrogen and 5*1 Oxygen atoms, or 10 hydrogen and 5 oxygen. The other comparison to math is this arrow, which is going to act like an equals sign. The way to set it up when you first start off is to list the elements' symbols below both the reactants and the products (in the same order), and count how many of each there are. Then, pick one of the elements where the number does not match, and come up with a number you can multiply the smaller one by to make it equal the larger one. Place that number as a coefficient in front of that chemical formula, and multiply through just as we talked about earlier. Next, change the numbers below that side to what the equation reflects now. Continue these steps until all the numbers for all the elements match on both sides of the equation.
What is a biomolecule and why should I care?
Biomolecules are molecules that are essential to life. If we break down the word, we can see that the prefix is "bio-" which means life, and molecule means a group of atoms bonded together- in other words, a chemical. So, what are the important chemicals in life? I would say the chemicals we eat, or the chemicals that make us up. Luckily, it turns out they are the same thing- the saying "you are what you eat" is literally true. So the carbohydrates, proteins, sugars, and fats that you look for on a nutrition label are the same chemicals that build your entire body.
Why are there two answers for x?
The solution to this equation are when y=0. If we look at the graph, we will see that it passes through the x axis twice, giving two places where y=0. We can also see if we "plug in" either one of these answers, it makes y be equal to 0. If we only used one of these answers, it would be incomplete because someone finding the second solution might think they were wrong.
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