Math is often viewed as a subject one has to study at school, comprising heavy terms such as derivatives, decimals, trigonometry, geometry, and so on. We hardly ever perceive math as a subject that might actually be useful in our day-to-day lives. Teachers and parents understand the importance of math, of course. However, on the other hand, making math relatable to children might be difficult. There is a lot of talk about how important it is to understand concepts like geometry, algebra, subtraction, addition, statistics, and others, but kids might not understand how these ideas are used in the real world. We all need math, it’s a fact. Math teaches us problem-solving techniques, a skill that is beneficial in many contexts and in daily life. Given its practical importance, math should not be confined to the classroom or as a subject studied as part of the curriculum. It is critical to delve into the why of math study. Here are the top five math skills you need to have in the real world, although there may be a few more. How then can you apply math to your life? Check out these real-world math examples1,2 and give them a try.
In the Kitchen
If you come across a recipe that serves three people but you have five people over, what exactly do you do? Fractions and proportions can come to the rescue! This is one of the most basic instances of what most people call “kitchen math.” You can fill your quarter-cup measure twice if you’ve just soiled the half-cup measure with oil and need another half-cup of flour. The majority of us do it without even realizing it, yet it’s a vital skill to discuss. Sometimes we know such things in theory but do not understand how to apply them. Cooking and baking are great ways to understand how math applies to life outside of the classroom. You may start by reading different recipes, understanding fractions, and practicing them in a group. For instance, you may think about how to double a recipe or, on the flipside, cut one in half.
Checks and Balances
Another important everyday skill where math helps is learning how to balance a bank account. It is something that kids may learn from a young age. They can begin by keeping track of how much they spend and save in a year. They’ll practice fundamental math while doing so, and this will also instill in them the importance of saving and budgeting.
A second idea is the inverse, which at first may be challenging to understand. How do you know if you show the same amount as they do if you’ve put all your transactions in your check register and there’s a check that hasn’t yet cleared the bank? You recalculate your balance and add that amount back in. That’s an inverse operation, and many people have trouble grasping it conceptually!
You might often ask yourself, “Which of these ten packs of tissues is the best buy?” or “Which of these five crates of juice would be the most cost-effective?” These are probably some of the most important real-world applications of multiplication, division, and fractions that one may think of. If you can get a 2-liter bottle of sparkling water for $1.50 or a 1.5-liter bottle for $1, which would you choose? This is something that is easy to get wrong. We have a tendency to believe that a larger pack is a better deal, which it is sometimes but not always.
We often need to measure things in our day-to-day lives, such as time, weight, length, and several other measurable dimensions. It’s perhaps not a surprise, then, that measurement is an important part of primary and middle school math. The foundation for other crucial parts of mathematical thinking and learning is formed by children’s early concepts about measurement, such as comparing sizes. Many occupations, from construction workers to architects, necessitate precise measuring abilities. Measuring and math go hand in hand, and you can make math more enjoyable for your children by allowing them to roam freely across the classroom, or even the entire school⏤“What is the principal’s height?” “How long is the corridor?” “What is the gym’s square footage?” The options are limitless.
Many people have lost the ability to read a map as a result of the widespread use of GPS. Map reading necessitates a comprehension of scale, coordinates, distances, fractions, and other math concepts. Children are unlikely to have ever needed to use a map to get there. So, take a virtual field trip to your child’s favorite location by following a map and practicing math at the same time.
The above are some of the best real-world math skills one must know. They may appear difficult at times, but once we master them, they can make our lives easier while also providing us with a more practical approach to the subject.
So, which real-world math skill are you going to practice with your child? Comment below and let us know. If this post piqued your interest and you’re interested in learning more about each of these practical skills in particular, check out related posts on BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog.
- 6 Examples of Using Math In the Real World | Continental Press. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.continentalpress.com/blog/6-examples-using-math-in-the-real-world/
- Top 5 real world math skills to know before graduation – Unschool RULES. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://unschoolrules.com/real-world-math-skills/