An equation is a statement of ‘equality’, you’re saying that whatever’s on one side of the = sign is exactly equal to what’s on the other side. e.g y = x + 1

When an unknown is involved, we can solve the equation to discover the value of the unknown e.g. x + 3 = 7 (x must be 4).

By comparison, an inequality says that whatever’s on one side is either bigger, or smaller, than what’s on the other side (depending on the sign).

e.g. x - 3 >= -5

We can still solve inequality's in the same way as if there was just an equal sign, but the answer is different, x has more than one possible answer.

Let's solve it first.

To solve an inequality, imagine that the inequality is just an equal sign.

To get x on it's own, we need to add 3 to both sides:

x >= -5 + 3
x >= -2

So any value of x that is greater than or equal to 2, is valid as an answer.

We can represent this on a number line using a circle and arrow.

But if the inequality was

x + 3 > -5

then the circle at -2 would not be coloured in, to show that we do not include -2 in the set of possible values for x.

So if the circle is coloured in, it shows x can have the value of the number below the circle as well.

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