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Deb Russell

Math - Why do I need this? When will I ever use it?

By April 13, 2008

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If you have ever taught math, you rarely escape a handful (or more) of students who wonder why they need 'this stuff'. Well, personally I've always believed that math is an opportunity gateway. However, the math you need will depend very much upon your goals. For instance, Calculus is needed for all forms of engineering, finance and many of the science focused careers. Do well in Calculus and your job market certainly opens up. Algebra and geometry are great problem solving topics and are also stepping stones to Calculus. Geometry is applied in numerous careers both in the trades and at college levels. Statistics and probability are the maths for business, economics and research. The more math you know, the more options you have. Find out about the many careers requiring math and embrace it with determination!


April 20, 2008 at 11:26 am
(1) Frank Ho says:

Kids are getting smart. They did not ask me why they need math. They asked me question in a bit more specific way like “why I”rational functions”? To be honest, I nevered used completing square or factoring befond high school math and I majored in Statistics with master degree. So in a way, the kids are right. So they admit math is useful in general (they are not arguing that.) but for god’s sake, why they are learning factoring etc, they have little use later in their life?

Perhaps their parents want them to not to missout any chance to go into engineering or medicine or general science? There are many reasons that we as a math teachers or tutors do not know but for one thing I can tell them is it does not matter what hapened, our brain need exercise (like our other parts of body) and math is in deed very good way of exercisiig our brain, for this it is beneficial.

Why we need P.E. in school?

April 20, 2008 at 12:32 pm
(2) john g says:

By the same argument, why does one need psychology, history, or even english composition. Since graduating high school, I have never had to pyscho-analyze someone with abnormal behavior, discuss historical context with anyone in a job related setting or even write a compare and contrast essay. However, the fact is that all these subjects hones particular skills that can be applied in other ways. Mathematics enhances your ability to reason logically and see things abstractly, which is much more valued than being able to play Sigmund Freud.

April 21, 2008 at 7:49 am
(3) Toni says:

My students are from the inner city where I still have to explain how they will use math. It is always interesting to hear them say “I never thought it was math!” I don’t mind explaining to them the hows and whys of using math in their everyday lives. For them it is information they never had !

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