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Appreciating Mathematics

Many people don’t like mathematics. It is like they have a phobia of the subject and we have to ask – why is this so? Mathematics is something that we cannot get away from, no matter how much we want to run and hide.

There are several reasons why people don’t like mathematics. One of the main reasons why this subject is disliked, if not hated, is due to the way it was taught in schools. The mentality of teachers is that the students should follow the understanding of the teacher in order to understand the subject. In order to help the students better understand mathematics, the teacher is the one who needs to go to the level of the students’ understanding. With this kind of mentality, the teacher puts himself/herself into the shoes of the students and tries to understand how the students are coping with the lessons.

Another reason for not liking this subject is due to the numbers itself. Most students, if not all, needed a visual aid in order to really grasp the mathematical concept. From simple arithmetic in grade school to calculus in college, learners should be able to see how the numbers work in the physical world. So, we can show on the board (or screen) 2 apples and 2 bananas instead of showing 2 + 2. In Physics, let the students play with toy cars. They can bump the cars with each other and they can observe that the car with more speed and weight will have more energy to knock off the smaller and slower toy cars.

Many people think that they don’t need to study mathematics to do whatever they like in the future. In reality, we always use mathematics in any kind of work we are doing. In baking bread, we measure the ingredients properly so that we can have the expected quality of the bread. In buying something, we need to know how much we have so we will know if we can buy that thing that we wanted. Even in religion, they say that we count our blessings, but if we don’t know how to count then we cannot number our blessings.

The best way to help us appreciate mathematics is by looking at our daily lives. We count the number of years since we were born; this is arithmetic. We measure our height and weight in relation to our age to check whether we are healthy; this is statistics. We check the time to know when to bathe, to eat, or to do other things. The clock is a good example of learning fractions. We use the GPS or even our stocked knowledge to calculate the shortest route to where we are going; this is trigonometry. We time our workouts to measure the calories we have burned; this is algebra. We arrange our houses or rooms in an orderly manner; this is geometry. And when we have given up on mathematics then we are applying one of the principles of calculus – the limit. Lastly, but the most important of the examples given, is the sperm cell. Out of 100 million sperm, one succeeded in fertilizing the egg that turned into you. This is what we call probability.

By |2018-08-13T18:17:51+01:00August 13th, 2018|Categories: Mathematics|0 Comments

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Michael Peters

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