Kids frequently ask their math teachers why they need to learn math. For them, it may certainly seem like a useless subject. All of these variables and seemingly random numbers serve no immediate purpose for them. In fact, during the 1920s, Algebra and more advanced mathematics were not required in secondary school. The Massachusetts Commissioner of Education referred to it as a “useless subject”. After World War II, a movement was started to bring more advanced mathematics into the classroom. Today, in the 21st century, students are taking Calculus in high school and math is considered one of the most important subjects in school. But the question still remains: why learn math?
- Real-world applications
The most obvious reason to learn math is the fact that it there are a number of real-world scenarios that would require at least a basic knowledge of mathematics. Paying taxes requires knowledge of percentages. Construction projects often require knowledge of measuring and sometimes more advanced geometric units. Even basic things, such as calculating how many credits you need in college or what a summer job will ultimately pay you require simple arithmetic. Here is an example: A person with absolutely no mathematical background would simply not be able to perform daily functions.
- Develops logic and critical thinking
There is a reason that companies reach out to those with a math-related major in college – mathematics literally teaches people how to think. Algebra and trigonometry teach how to arrive at one step from another and to make conclusions. Students that are good at math are generally more organized and plan their time better. Math teaches that everything has a specific logic and order. Students then apply this philosophy to everyday things.
- It’s simply going to come up
Even if math will serve absolutely no purpose in one’s life, they will still need to know it. At least a quarter of a person’s life is spent first in primary school, then in secondary and high school, then taking standardized tests, and then in college. Each of these levels of study will either test you on or develop your knowledge of mathematics. In order to maintain a good GPA and get good scores on the SAT and ACT, a solid knowledge of mathematics is vital. A good academic record can go far in determining your college choice and potentially influencing your job and salary. Consider these numbers: in order to get into a good college or other scholarly institution, you will probably be required to take the SAT or a similar standardized test. The SAT is worth 2400 points. Of this, 800 points, a third, is on – you guessed it – mathematics. The math on these tests is not hard, but it can be tricky. Having good knowledge of middle school and early high school math will help you score well on standardized tests and keep your doors open for a bright future. Long story short: Math = Money.
- Finance and budgeting
This kind of goes under Real-world applications, but it is such a huge part that it deserves its own argument. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, paying for your kids’ college tuition, or buying a new car, you will need to know mathematics. You’ll need to know how much money you have and how much of it you can spend. Making financial decisions without a solid knowledge of mathematics would be very difficult.
- Math develops study skills
Math is one of the few subjects that you need a thorough understanding of to pass. If you don’t fully get a concept in English or history, then you can still perform well on an exam. However, math builds off of itself. Algebra uses addition, subtraction and multiplication. Geometry uses Algebra. Trigonometry uses geometry. Calculus uses trigonometry, and so forth. This is why math also develops study skills. When reviewing for a math test, you must study every topic, not just one you’re currently working on. Studying more builds study skills.
- It teaches kids memory skills
When children are doing math, especially more difficult math, they often have to recall properties and theorems that they have learned in the past. They do not always have all the necessary equations in front of them. Recalling things they learned in the past requires memorizing and remembering, which are basic memory skills. Memory can be very important in the future, whether its studying for a test or memorizing a grocery list.
- Interpreting numbers
The most basic math that kids learn is numbers and counting. However, this may actually be one of the more important types of math. Being able to interpret numbers is as important as reading or writing. If one is driving on a highway at 65 MPH, and they see a sign saying that the speed limit is 50 MPH, they must be able to realize that they are 15 MPH over the speed limit and must slow down accordingly. Decisions like this are where interpreting numbers comes into play..
- Statistics and sports
Math is not only necessary for monotonous, day-to-day activities. We all have a favorite athlete or team that we follow. This would not be possible without math. Without an understanding of mathematics, we would not know how many games a team must win in a series in order to advance to the next round, or how many games they can afford to lose in a season before being eliminated from the playoffs. Likewise, we would not be able to find our favorite players’ batting average, points-per-game, or save percentage. Math is important for the sports buff in all of us.
- Not just for following sports!
Most children play a sport. Whether it’s little league baseball or peewee hockey, they participate on a team. Math is also important to keep track of one’s own statistics. If a young ballplayer has a goal of 5 home runs in a season, and they’ve already hit 3, they can use math to calculate how many more homers they need to achieve their goal. Or, if a young basketball player wants to average 15 points per game to lead his team, he can use math to calculate how many points he needs in order to have that mean. Math adds an interactive and analytical element to playing a sport.
- Keeping track of time
We all have activities going on in our lives, most of which are time-specific. From telling time to complex scheduling, math makes it possible for us to calculate when we need to be somewhere and for how long we need to be there. Without math, we would have no organization in our schedules. If I have to be at work at 10 AM and have to eat breakfast and shower before work, when do I get up? Well, I know it takes me 10 minutes to shower and 20 minutes to eat. It also takes me 15 minutes to drive to work. I also usually snooze my alarm clock for 5 minutes. Subtract 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes, and 5 minutes from 10 AM, and I find that I have to get up at 9:10 AM. Calculations like this prevent me from being late.
- More career paths
Some unlikely careers use a lot of mathematics. Marine biologists must be able to calculate the depth of a trench or the width of a coral reef. Epidemiologists use complex formulas to calculate how far a disease will spread. Astronomers must calculate how far away stars are and how much time has passed since a nebula occurred. Surgeons must be able to calculate the pH of blood. All of these careers use fairly advanced arithmetic.
- InvestingThe stock market is a common place where people go in order to make money. Having a good knowledge of mathematics can increase one’s chances of striking gold. Investing combines being able to detect exponential trends, calculating percentage and interest rates, and budgeting your money. A solid knowledge of mathematics can lead to saving more money and investments having a larger profit.
- Keep your brain in shape
Mathematics is scientifically proven to keep your brain healthy. It stimulates neural activity and keeps your brain working. This prevents senescence, natural cell aging, from taking place. Therefore, a 60-year old who is in a field that requires daily mathematical thinking probably has the brain of a 50-year old. Keeping your brain in shape also prevents strokes and leads to a healthier lifestyle.
- Not just your brain!
Those of us looking to keep our bodies in shape will also use mathematics. Counting calories and figuring out how many grams of fat are in our daily diets use basic math. So do more advanced physical analyses such as body fat percentage and BMI. Not to mention, math is a vital part of actually working out. Figuring out how many miles you need to run to lose a pound, calculating the weight you’re lifting on the bench press, and finding optimal incline on a treadmill all require mathematics.
Computers are the future. In about 20 years, all major business will take place between machines. But computers cannot function on their own. They must be programmed. Computer programming is an expanding field that requires a very strong knowledge of mathematics. Logarithms and algorithms are vital in computer programming, and can be learned in mathematics. With enough mathematics knowledge, you might even be able to decipher the title of this paragraph..
- Making music
If you’re interested in any type of music production, you must have a strong knowledge of mathematics. All music has tempo, pitch, and volume. These are all mathematical functions. Tempo is a proportion. Pitch is a property of a sound wave. Volume is measured in decibels, which are in a logarithmic scale. In addition: EDM – Electronic Dance Music – is the newest genre of music. Unlike other genres, it is entirely produced on computers. Nowadays, DJ equipment consists of a laptop and headphones. Anyone in this industry must have a strong knowledge of mathematics. BPM (Beats-per-minute) is a vital trait that mixing and producing EDM requires. Conclusion: making music means knowing math.
- Let’s get physical
Physics – the study of matter – uses a lot of mathematics. This is a subject that deals with projectiles, waves, circuits, and other topics. It is also a subject that nearly all science/engineering-related majors contain in college. This is one of many subjects that contain a mathematical base. Chemistry also contains a lot of math. Therefore, learn math in order to succeed in non-biological sciences.
- What are the odds?
There’s a decent chance that at one time or another in your life, you will bet on something. At this time, you will recall your knowledge of mathematics. Odds and lines, two common things in betting, are based in mathematics. Probability is part of many high school math courses and it will help determine the likely outcome of an event. Probability isn’t just used in betting though. When you go to the beach, it helps to know the chance of rain.
Whether you’re baking a cake or seeing how much you’ve grown, simple measuring is a huge part of daily activities. Learning measurement would not be possible without basic knowledge of math. Centimeters, inches, and feet are all the basic units of measurement that you will learn in elementary school math. Weighing out 3 grams for a cake recipe or stepping on a scale to see how much weight you have lost since you started you’re new diet require math.
- If you’re good at something, never do it for free
Even at an early stage, having good math knowledge can result directly in earning capital. If you know your better at math than most others, start tutoring for money! Open a business, tell all your friends, and start teaching others math. Not to mention that if you really start to make money, you’ll need math in order to perform basic financial operations.
Can you think of more reasons learning math is vital? I’d like to hear from you! Just leave your comments below. Oh and don’t forget to like and share this post with all your math-hating friends!