I agree, there IS beauty in mathematics, and I genuinely love math! Math is vital to everyday life from young kids learning to count to young adults learning to balance a checkbook. Math can be simple, and it can be complicated; it can be easy, and it can be challenging. Math is logical; it’s clever. It can take you on a journey. It turns you into a problem solver, into a fighter. Despite the negativity that tends to follow mathematics, it should be appreciated.
April is Math Awareness Month! That’s right, there’s an entire month dedicated to how math impacts our lives, and this year’s theme is Math Drives Careers. What an excellent theme! Many careers involve mathematics: statistics, health care, finance. But did you know that careers in computer science, biology, manufacturing, national security, ecology, architecture, actuary, forensic science, geography, web development, nursing, just to name a few, also involve key mathematical skills? Many of these jobs involve not only computational skills, but also require analytical, communication, and reasoning skills as well as perseverance. Learning mathematics can help students acquire each of these skills.
“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas” – Albert Einstein
Let’s start with a concept as simple as the order of operations. What an idea, what logic, what poetry! By understanding and using the order of operations correctly, chaos is prevented. The expression 8 + 9 – 10 has one answer because there’s an order, a script to follow.
But is there an order or a script to follow when we move into solving equations such as 2x + 6 = 10 or
x2 + 2x + 1 = 0? Sure there is. There are multiple ways to solve each of these equations! And that’s when math gets scary for some. But in life we take on this challenge daily. For example, you may need to find a different route to work due to an accident on the main road. In either case, logic is always on your side. Analyze the problem. Use logic to determine the unknown, to undo the problem. Reason with the solution. Show your persistence, your tenacity, your determination. These are the skills that math delivers, which is why Math Drives Careers!
So let’s celebrate mathematics!
“The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.” – Stan Gudder
Check out these Curriculum Pathways math resources: