Do I need Math in life?

Posted November 10, 2011 Isabella Valeria Bontorin

Isabella Valeria Bontorin View Profile
Member since November 10, 2011
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Math in school is often underestimated for what it really is. Most students think that in life they will never use anything they are taught. I also sometimes ask myself if I will ever need any math I learn in school, and realize that even if I’m not going to become a biologist, a scientist or a technologist, I do need at least some simple math in my every day life. Last night I watched a video where Conrad Wolfram, a British technologist and businessman known for his work in information technology, during one of his speeches said “Math should be more practical and more conceptual, but less mechanical”. What he means by this statement is that people think of math as something hard, so many times they don’t even try to understand it. He thinks that there are many ways of making it fun so everyone, kids included, can enjoy it. I agree when he says that math should be more fun and shouldn’t be seen as something that we are obligated to do. Since elementary school we are taught to calculate by hand, hoe to add, subtract, divide, multiply or simplify. In middle school or high school students are allowed to use calculators because they learn things that are more difficult to do by hand, or it just takes too long so it is simple and faster to use a calculator. We should be able to use it when things are complicated and long to do by hand and only if we know why and what steps we used to get the answer. The calculator shouldn’t be used because we don’t know how to calculate but just to make things simple and faster, knowing that most of the math we do can be way more difficult. The calculator doesn’t help you understand what you are doing. If everyone used a calculator for every single thing, nobody would understand why or what they are doing. I prefer learning how to do something the hard way and then make it easier for me later instead of going the easy way directly and not knowing what I’m doing. I think this is the reason why teachers want their students to do computations by hand, so they can understand each step they need to do, which the calculator won’t show. Also anyone can use simple calculation by hand in life, like for shopping, adding prices, and knowing how much money you have to pay the government for taxes. If you know how to calculate simple problems by hand sometimes it can be faster than doing it with the calculator, and it can make you feel smarter!