Finding math in real-life situations is not as difficult as you might think. You apply math in so many instances throughout your day. Some examples include basic activities like shopping, cooking, arranging your study table or cupboard, gardening, and even decorating your home. The five main branches of math include algebra, statistics, arithmetic, geometry, data handling, and trigonometry.1 Which of these finds the most application in the day-to-day tasks of the actual world? Read this article to find out.

The Importance of Numbers

Without our knowledge, we use numbers to make decisions throughout the day. Numeracy assists in making many of our daily decisions and life choices.3 The branch of math dealing with numbers and calculations is arithmetic. Often confused as a synonym of math, arithmetic is one of the primary mathematical branches that involves counting through mathematical operations, fractions, decimals, and sequencing. Learning the basics of numbers builds a strong foundation for understanding the concepts of advanced mathematical branches.2

Individual numeracy skills directly correlate to social, professional, and financial well-being. Examples of daily activities that require a basic knowledge of math include: knowing how much to tip, checking if you have received the correct amount in change, mentally setting up a budget, counting if you are getting enough hours of sleep, figuring out how much time it will take to reach the office, or even helping the kids with their homework. Therefore, arithmetic can be viewed as the most widely used branch of math for everyday real-world tasks.1,3

Relying on Numbers for Daily Activities

Whatever your profession, you will find that having the basic knowledge of arithmetic comes in handy in almost all situations. Here are a few examples of daily activities and their correlation with numbers or arithmetic.4,5

  • Dealing With Money

The basic operations of arithmetic, namely addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, help you manage money throughout the day. Whether calculating the cash you have to pay at the grocery store or budgeting the money spent at the end of the day, arithmetic has your back! It can also help you devise a sound investment plan by letting you come up with ways to organize your money.6,7

  • Shopping

When you visit a shopping mall with your previously collected discount coupons, you can mentally figure out how much a particular outfit or accessory will cost you via mental arithmetic. It helps you choose wisely before going to check out the line. Arithmetic comes in handy when you go grocery shopping to help estimate the number of vegetables, fruits, or cereals to buy through weight and price correlation.5

  • Cooking

Knowing proportions and ratios is useful in measuring the ingredients to add to a recipe.7 For instance, if the recipe mentions using one cup of a particular component and you have only a quarter cup measure, what would you do? It is simple. Applying the basic rules of arithmetic, you can figure out that pouring four times from the quarter cup measure will give you one cup of that ingredient.

  • Exercising

Arithmetic finds applications in designing exercise schedules, measuring fitness growth, and calculating short-term and long-term goals.6 You can also calculate your BMI (body mass index) using simple arithmetic estimations and chalk out a plan for your fitness journey. 

  • Driving

While driving, you invariably keep making instant judgments in your mind, such as mentally judging the distance between your car and the one in front and deciding whether you need to increase or decrease the speed depending upon the general traffic. You may also need to calculate the time it will take to reach your office if you travel at a particular speed. Solutions to all these questions come from a basic understanding of arithmetic and number operations.4,5

  • Managing Time

Arithmetic finds applications in developing better timetables and schedules to regulate your daily activities. It helps manage duties and responsibilities in a limited time frame more efficiently.6

Arithmetic is an essential tool for daily functioning. Teaching your child its importance early on can help develop them into more confident individuals. The teaching of arithmetic needs to be organized in such a way that it connects with everyday life situations. 

Did you find this article enriching? To find out how other branches of math affect our day-to-day activities, visit BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog.

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