Advertisement

How about trying the same thing with some other numbers:

5 and 7

Do we get the same thing when we add them...  even if we switch the order?

5 + 7 = 7 + 5

Yep.  Sure looks like it!

I want you to try it now...  Go ahead...  Pick any two numbers you want...  Add them together...  Then, switch the order and add them again!  I'll wait...

 

 

Did you get the same thing?  You always will.  When something happens like this in math, we make it a special rule called a "property."

I'm going to give you the property in all letters to get you ready for Algebra!

The Commutative Property of Addition:

a + b = b + a

Where a and b are any real numbers.

This rule just says that, when you are doing addition, it doesn't matter which order the numbers are in.  You can add a and b OR you can add b and a ... and you'll  get the same answer. 

NOTE:  This does not work with subtraction!