There are only four basic mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. However, the manner that they can be arranged are numerous. This is why formulae are important.
A mathematical formula is a statement that shows the relationship among the different variables or elements. It gives information on the mathematical operations that connect the variables together and how they can be manipulated.
Example of a formula: The formula A=l*w for example shows the relationship among three elements: the area (A) of a rectangle, it’s length, (l) and its width, (w). It also shows the use of a multiplication process in the formula. How is the formula used?
For example, a person who is looking for a space, say a room, to rent. Rental advertisements are often given in terms of area, thus, when he looks over an information that says a 200 square meter space and a length of 4.0 meters, the person would know how wide the space is using the formula for the rectangle, A=l*w, using the formula.
To use the formula, first determine the known elements. In the example, we can see that the area (A) is known, that is, 200 square meters. We can also see that the length is known: 4.0 meters. If the person would like to know how wide the room will be, then he can use the formula to find it.
When the elements are given in a straight- forward manner, then one can do a direct substitution. This means, replacing the letters in the formula with the corresponding numbers. We know that the area is A, and that it is 200. We also know that the length is l and that it is 4.0. By direct substitution, we have the following: A=l*w, 200 = 4 * w, and w = 200/4 and thus w = 5 There are many different kinds of formulae in mathematics.
The more familiar ones, such as the formula for shapes and cones, or for speed and acceleration have been established and tested by scientists and mathematicians throughout the years. Using these established formula requires knowing the purpose of the formula and understanding what the required information is. Identifying the right formulae.
An important thing to consider is knowing the formula to use in a given situation. Most word problems in school require the students to understand what is being presented. What information is given and what information is required or unknown. Familiarity with formulae allow the correct determination of any of the variables when the necessary information is given.