Intermediate Algebra/Expressions and Formulas
Throughout your mathematical journey through Arithmetic, Pre-Algebra, and Geometry, you have been introduced to (and analyzing) equations, and perhaps even expressions, but may have ignored these aspects of math. Equations, of course, involve an equal sign () while an expression is merely the calculations involved.
When you simplify an expression, you are answering simple arithmetic problems until you result in the simplest answer, most likely a single number, but sometimes a fraction. When you evaluate an expression, you are utilizing variables to find a single number. Of course, you are familiar with all this from the Arithmetics classes you previously took and the Arithmetic review, correct? If your memory needs some refreshing and some practicing the Order Of Operations (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally), here are some practice problems.
Now that we understand how to simplify and evaluate expressions, we can analyze formulas. Formulas are expressions made primarily of variables that are plugged in to evaluate the expression. Formulas are used for science and mathematics often, especially Geometry.
Unlike equations, expressions contain no equal sign. In equations, there are two separate expressions that are equal to each other, and you are trying to make both sides of the equal sign... equal. Well, with expressions, you are either simplifying or evaluating them. To simplify an expression, you do as many of the Order of Operations as you can to get to the simplest answer. Meanwhile, to evaluate, you plug in numbers for variables and simplify from there. Formulas are special kinds of expressions and/or equations that are used for science and mathematics.