Recently I was asked to briefly explain the difference between math and arithmetic. Here’s what I came up with:
Arithmetic can answer the question:
“What is 3 plus 2?”
Arithmetic cannot answer the question:
“What are 3 apples plus 2 oranges?”
Math, on the other hand, can take a higher order look at the problem and answer:
“3 apples plus 2 oranges are 5 pieces of fruit.”
Math is about relationships and patterns.
Math is arithmetic plus context.