Many people find math to be a challenging subject. It can be a complicated topic for children and adults to grasp and struggling to answer a math problem time and time again may cause you to get frustrated and perhaps give up on the problem (and math) entirely. However, it is present in every facet of our lives, whether you realize it or not, which is why math is important. Teaching kids the applications of math in real life is a great way to get them excited about the subject and it might even entice you in the process.
Check out a few reasons why math is so important below, and hopefully, you feel inspired next time you’re faced with a math problem!
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Math Has a Wide Range of Applications
When a kid asks why math is important, the simple answer is: ” Because it’s useful.” Math has helped solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, as well as small ones we face in our daily lives. While math is not the solution to every problem, its applications are far-reaching.
As a parent, you can help your child understand the value of math by highlighting ways that math helps us. Here are some examples that you can share with your child:
- Budgeting: Managing finances requires the use of math. It is how you budget your monthly expenses, such as groceries, utility bills, cable, online streaming services, and more. And with a basic understanding of math, you can figure out how much you’re spending on unnecessary purchases. Furthermore, if you are thinking of investing, math can help figure out how much profit you stand to make and the level of risk you can comfortably take.
- Cooking: Suppose you know the ingredients to make a meal for two, but you need to increase them to cook for five people. Math can help you calculate the correct quantities so that you’re able to cook the right amount of food.
- Time management: Time management is essential for everyone, especially as you get older. If you’re writing a school essay, math can help you determine the amount of time you should dedicate to each section to finish on time. And if you need to get somewhere fast, math can help you calculate the shortest distance to your destination relative to your mode of transportation.
Math Improves Critical Thinking
Math helps you improve your critical thinking. Humans are not wired to be rational beings, meaning most of our decisions are not made objectively. We can get around our emotions and biases with strong critical thinking skills to make wiser life choices. That way, you’ll rely less on your gut and intuition and use reason and evidence to your advantage. So, improving our critical thinking skills is also an answer to “Why is math important?”
You might be wondering how math improves critical thinking. The answer lies in how you go about solving a math problem. Math requires you to analyze the problem in its entirety, factoring in all its components. Then, you start taking steps towards reaching the answer. While doing so, you eliminate any step that doesn’t move you towards the solution until you reach it.
Even if you don’t solve the problem correctly, math gives you a framework for critical thinking. You learn how to use the available information around you to formulate steps that will guide you towards a practical solution or send you off in the right direction. That is something that serves you both in math and real life.
Math Is Part of Many Jobs
Science, finance, accounting, and statistics are some fields that explicitly require one to know math. Some people tend to avoid these careers that explicitly need math. However, there is no true way to escape math because it is ubiquitous in everything we do.
One way or the other, you will encounter math no matter the career you choose. Here are a few examples of how math affects several careers in unexpected ways:
Retail: If someone works at the checkout counter in retail, they need to have a basic understanding of arithmetic, and how to make change so that customers are given the right amount of money back if they pay cash. A store owner or manager must know math to perform critical functions like purchasing inventory, analyzing sales figures, and setting discounts without losing money.
Photography: Math, specifically trigonometry, helps photographers determine the best angles for their shots. The same trigonometry, combined with arithmetic and geometry, allows them to tweak some important camera settings. These include focal length, aperture, exposure, and shutter speed.
Math helps photographers get their perfect shot. This is not to say that you can’t be a photographer without it, but math will help you take your photography to the next level.
Architecture: When architects are drawing up designs for buildings, they need math for things like spatial and beauty considerations and predicting construction problems. For the latter, math helps them develop solutions that will lead to the construction of a strong and sturdy structure.
Law: Attorneys need to understand the numbers and figures that form statistics and use them to strengthen their cases. Also, attorneys need to be logical and have strong analytical skills, and a big part of it is thinking critically.
Engineering: In construction, contractors need math to accurately determine quantities and dimensions in terms of materials and available space. That way, they have the right amount and length of everything. Furthermore, they also use math to calculate the cost of the entire construction project.
Game Development: If the game being developed requires the simulation of real-world physics, programmers need to know calculus and trigonometry. With calculus, along with knowledge of physics, matrices, and linear algebra they can simulate any real-life scenario dynamically.
Animation: Math is an important part of every animation, as it makes characters look like they have weight and mass. This prevents actions like jumping from looking floaty.
Math Helps Us Understand the World
Math is famously known for being the language of the universe. It was Galileo Galilei, an astronomer, and mathematician, who once said:
“The Universe is a grand book that cannot be read until one first learns to comprehend the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is composed. It is written in the language of mathematics.”
Mathematics is what scientists use to describe patterns in the world. For example, the Fibonacci sequence, which is seen in nature, and the motion of the planets are best described through math. In a way, the universe is communicating with us through patterns in nature, and math is the language we invented to understand it using science. Galileo put it best when he said:
“Mathematics is the key and door to the sciences.”
Furthermore, once we understand some aspect of the universe, we use that knowledge to help us navigate it as best as we humanly can. And we do this until we run into nasty surprises. Then, it’s back to doing more math and science until we find a more accurate description.
About BYJU’S FutureSchool
BYJU’S FutureSchool is an interactive platform dedicated to increasing math literacy in children. We use visual math to create exciting virtual and interactive math classrooms that teach math concepts and increase knowledge retention through memorable story-based interactions and 1:1 guidance. At the same time, we encourage kids to explore math in unique and exciting ways. This allows them to build their problem-solving skills, indulge their creativity, and learn from their mistakes, setting them up for a bright future.