Basics of Algebra:
Realize that a letter is merely representing a number or a thing. Apply the concepts of equivalence. The equal sign means that both sides have to be equal.
Solving one-step equations:
x + 3 = 8 Reads " x plus three equals eight". Interpret that something plus 3 will equal eight. What is that something?
Intuitively, one will say "five". True. But for the sake of understanding the procedure for the multi-step equations where random thoughts begin confusion, follow along.
x + 3 = 8 Since we want to know what x equals. Let's get x alone on one side of the equal sign. (This is called isolating the variable.)
What's keeping x from being alone? +3
What's the opposite of +3? -3
So subtract three from both sides of the equal sign.