“Why do I need to study math?”
This is a question your child asks every time he encounters a difficult problem or every time he does not feel like answering his math homework. The answer to his question is simple – it’s because math is present everywhere and anywhere.
Be it in nature, in technology, in money, or in everyday chores, math shows itself. The need to study math boils down to it being essential to do activities, to make decisions and to face challenges in everyday life.
To show your child just how big and wide is the influence of math in every person’s life, here are some aspects in which you can see the outright use and presence of math.
- Daily Activities – Be it young or old, everyone engages in math related tasks. Everyone counts and makes use of the basic operations to determine usual things like how much money your child would need to buy his favorite snack or how much time he would need to spend to do his homework. You can also show your child that how he counts the number of pencils or toys he has is the same as you counting the bottles of milk you need or the amount of change you’ll get from the store. This allows him to understand that you both make use of math in the simplest things.
- Games and Puzzles – Most, if not all, puzzles and games require mathematical logic and deduction. From board games (Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, and Battle of the Generals) to mind puzzles (Sudoku, logic puzzles, Rubik’s Cube), the skills your child uses when he answers math problems are the same skills he uses when he plays any of these games and puzzles. Experiencing the thrill and fun of the games and puzzles is a good way for you to explain to your child how math is used. He will then be able to realize that how he won the game can be partially credited to math.
- Time and the Heavens – Math plays a major part in the modern way we tell time and the way we predict the seasons and the changes in weather. Back then, the people of the ancient times made use of astronomy to tell if it was 12 noon or 7 in the evening and to tell when it would snow or rain. Math was developed to understand the relation of these changes in time and season to the cycles of nature. You can show your child this relation by comparing how people used to tell time and how you do it now. Also, you can look up child-friendly documentaries that discuss how math gave life to what are now known as the clock, seasons and the changes in weather.
- Nature – You may not know it but the sequence of numbers called the Fibonacci Sequence, where each number is derived from adding the previous two numbers, can be found in many natural patterns. You and your child can take a pineapple, a sunflower, or a pine cone to observe how this famed sequence comes to be in nature. Also, the concept of symmetry is often used to represent natural figures like the human body. Both of you can take a look at other forms of life that take on symmetry. This allows your child to not only appreciate nature and its beauty, but also to discover how math plays a big role in the world of science.
By discussing the four mentioned aspects, it is already evident on how math is widely used in life. We may not use it directly or we may not see it outright, but math’s presence everywhere is the main reason why we need to study it – and why we eventually learn to love and appreciate it.