Arithmetic vs Algebra: What’s the Difference?

Arithmetic vs Algebra

Did you know that there are 1,413,345 math teachers in the U.S.?

Teaching arithmetic vs algebra is not an easy task. Have you struggled to figure out whether to use arithmetic or algebra in math class? Or even worse, what if you are asked to solve a problem and don’t know which to use?

Well, you have come to the right place! Here is a quick guide to help you understand the difference between arithmetic and algebra. 

Difference in Application

Arithmetic and algebra are distinct branches of mathematics with unique purposes. Arithmetic concerns the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Algebra is a branch of mathematics focused on manipulating symbols, equations, and variables.

The difference between the two in the application is vast. Arithmetic allows us to solve basic operations that can lead to a definite answer.

Algebra, however, is more abstract. It allows us to represent unknowns, manipulate equations, and analyze data.

We can use algebra to solve more complex problems. This includes finding the least common multiple or determining the cost of a particular product.

The main difference between the two is that algebra incorporates variables, which helps us understand concepts more abstractly. Understanding both arithmetic and algebra is essential as it offers excellent math connections to our world and furthers our understanding of mathematics.

Difference in Equations

The difference between arithmetic and algebra has everything to do with equations. Arithmetic is the manipulation of numbers, while algebra involves generalizations of symbols and variables.

In an arithmetic equation, all the numbers are given. The goal is to solve the equation by performing the conventional operations.

An algebraic equation will involve one or more unknowns, requiring increased complexity. It often requires additional manipulation to solve it.

This addition of unknowns to equations makes algebra more challenging for some learning math. It is also far more applicable in any number of real-world scenarios.

Difference in Objectives

Arithmetic vs algebra each present their differences when discussing the subject’s objective. Arithmetic is the application of math to solve basic calculations. Its goal is to understand and solve basic computation problems.

Algebra focuses on higher-level thinking by introducing symbols. This includes letters and numbers to represent unknown quantities.

Its objective is to solve equations that involve one or more variables. It describes relations between two or more variables. This helps to understand the concept of equations and inequalities.

Arithmetic requires memorization of basic formulas and information. It can solve basic problems.

Algebra demands more abstract thinking. It can determine the solution of unknowns based on knowledge of its structure.

Differentiating Arithmetic vs Algebra

Arithmetic vs algebra are two topics that involve using numbers, but they are pretty different. Arithmetic is an essential math skill that focuses on solving equations in basic order, while algebra applies abstract methods to solve various equations. If you need help, contact a qualified instructor or take a course today.

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