The reading material provided on this page for 'Variables and Constants' is specifically designed for students in grade 6. So, let's begin!

What are Variables and Constants?

In mathematics, variables and constants are two important concepts. Variables allow for flexibility, problem-solving and modelling while constants provide stability, fundamental values, and standardization. Both variables and constants contribute to formulating, analyzing and understanding mathematical concepts and equations.

Variables

A variable is a symbol used to represent an unknown quantity that can vary. Variables are used in mathematics and computer programming to represent unknown or changing values in equations, expressions or algorithms.

Example: Let's consider the algebraic equation 5a + 2b = 11, where a and b are variables that can be changed based on the equation.

Constants

A constant is a value that remains unchanged and fixed throughout a calculation or equation. It can be any numerical value or letter symbol representing a fixed value. For example, the value of pi (π) is a constant that is always equal to 3.14159265 or 22/7.

Example: In the algebraic equation 5a + 2b = 11, the number 11 is a constant; On the other hand, 5a and 2b are not constants because a and b are variables that can change their values

Let's determine the other key differences between constants and variables.

Differences between Variables and Constants

Constants

Variables

Represent fixed or unchanging values.

Represent unknown or changing quantities.

Maintain the same value throughout a problem.

Can be assigned different values.

Typically represented by specific numbers or symbols.

Typically denoted by letters or symbols.

Provide stability and consistency in calculations.

Used to solve equations and analyze relationships.

For example, let Leena has 3x apples. It represents variable quantity as if I take x = 1 then Leena will have 3 x 1 = 3 apples, if x = 2 then Leena will have 3 x 2 = 6 apples and so on. So, number of apples depend on x which is changing every time. Thus, x is a variable. if I say that number of apples Leena has is 50 then it is fixed it will not change, hence 50 is constant.

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