There is a real-life application to almost every form of mathematics. It doesn’t necessarily mean that every student will use every bit of maths they learn, but teachers and parents can show how elements of maths relate to the world we live in. Here are several ways to demonstrate how maths in everyday life applies to almost anything.
Laura Overdeck, founder of Bedtime Math, suggests that helping children understand maths is essential because it sets them up for a more financially secure future. At its most basic, understanding maths helps a boy with budgeting – learning how to save and spend within his means. Further down the track, maths helps with understanding loans, credit cards, and repayments. Learning to manage his pocket money effectively will help your son develop confidence in managing his more complex finances in adulthood.
There is a common misconception in Australia that maths is only relevant for people who want to work in engineering, business or science. However, maths is used in practically every career on some level and provides skills invaluable to everyday life. Scientists, musicians, artists, graphic designers, architects, software engineers, bankers, consultants and chefs all use mathematical concepts in their work.
Maths teaches us to develop methodical and systematic problem-solving skills such as visualisation, working backwards, identifying patterns and trial and error. These skills can be applied to solve everyday problems. Maths also helps us to think analytically and to develop reasoning skills. Analytical thinking is the ability to question the world around us, while reasoning is the ability to thinking logically about a situation. Maths offers many opportunities to develop these skills by solving problems and identifying solutions.
4. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgement. Similar to problem solving, critical thinking is a skill that is strengthened by learning maths. Students who apply critical thinking skills to maths problems are able to explain why a formula works, identifying the logic behind the process they used to reach a solution. Students who learn to apply critical thinking skills in maths, can also apply the same process to everyday problems in order to find the best solution. Critical thinking skills are vital to establish deep understanding of a topic. The more maths skills we gain, the more we learn to pay attention, question and rule out unnecessary information as well as analyse data – aiding decision-making and critical thinking skills.
Maths is even present in many hobbies. For example, it plays a key role in sports – from individual statistics, team statistics, win-loss records, to more advanced analytics. It also helps teams and players to devise game-play strategies.
Similarly, maths can also be applied to music. Notes can be divided into fractions and are organised into bars and measures that relate to time. Time signatures signal how to count and play the beat. Patterns in sheet music, chord progressions, and rhythm are all based in maths.
6. Daily activities
Everyday activities can also feature elements of maths, even if we don’t realise it! It’s relevant in activities such as driving, where you need to calculate distance, time, speed, and fuel efficiency; it’s also relevant in grocery shopping, calculating how much food you need to buy and how to budget, and the preparation of food – using the right measurement of ingredients for example.
Realising that maths can be applied to everyday life, it is important to help your child develop a love of maths, and one of the best ways to do this is to demonstrate an enthusiasm for the subject around your children. Our blog Tips to help your child love maths provides more advice on how to achieve this.
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