Why you need to Learn Math Even if you hate it
Almost everyone realizes that arithmetic is a useful tool that we use regularly in every day life. For example, as adults, we need to most of the following things:
• Balance our checkbooks, or at least not overdraw them.
• Understand unit prices in the grocery store
• Figure out how much to tip in a restaurant
• Calculate how much paint to buy to paint our bedroom
• Be able to expand the ingredients in a recipe designed for four to feed six people
• Calculate how many miles per gallon your car actually gets
• Cut a piece of wood or cloth for a project you are working on.
It’s algebra, calculus, statistics and other forms of “higher” math that most people really hate. If you hate math, ask yourself the following questions:
• Am I afraid I’m not smart enough to do the math? Or…
• Do I think it is a waste of time because I’ll never use it?
If you’re in college, I almost guarantee that you are smart enough to do the math. The biggest problem most people have is that they have never learned many of the rules and, most importantly, the reasoning behind the math. Unfortunately, many math teachers do little more than put an endless series of drills and exercises in front of a student and have them memorize a few rules and tell them to practice, practice and practice some more without ever explaining why the rules work.
For example, very few people are aware that multiplication is nothing more than repeated addition and division is repeated subtraction. For example, 5 x 6 is really 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5, which equals 30 or 6 + 6 + 6 + 6 + 6, which also equals 30.
Algebra, geometry and calculus are no different. There are rules and practical applications but very few teachers ever explain why the rules work to the students. Human beings rarely like something they don’t understand.
Math is simply another language we can use to describe the world around us. I can describe my boyfriend as being tall or I can describe him as being 6 feet three inches tall. Adding the numbers creates a clearer picture in the listener’s mind. That is exactly why you need to learn math.
Math is the language of logic…of organization…of manipulating facts. Being able to think logically is absolutely necessary to be a good citizen, an effective parent, make sound financial decisions and be able to reason through any new ideas that other people present to you so you recognize the scams.
The reality is that unless you go into science or engineering, you probably won’t use advanced math to calculate anything once you get out of school and even then, you’ll probably use a computer program. Learning to think logically is absolutely necessary to being a successful adult and learning math is the BEST way to learn how to think logically. So tough it out, ask your professor to explain why the rules work and, if he or she does, you may even decide that math’s not all that bad after all.