Why learn Maths

Building blocks to everything!

At it's heart, absolutely everything can be distilled down to a mathematical truth. Mathematics is at the heart of how everything in the world works. We use mathematical concepts, as well as the skills we learn from doing math problems every day. 

Wherever your career takes you whether it is medicine, chemistry, biology, finance, economics, music and even creating a life-sized sculpture, maths can help. EVERY career has mathematics applications.

Here is the literal definitions of Mathematics in two ancient languages. In Greek, it is “learning.” In Hebrew, it’s root is “thinking.”

These definitions tell us that mathematics gives us the critical ability to learn and think logically in any field of endeavor. The skills of learning today are more important than knowledge, which is so readily available on the Internet.

A trend that is developing fast is around data. Regardless of your profession, it is essential you can interpret data and collate large amounts of data into meaningful observations. 

Data is being collected by every business, by every social media platform, by every physician, by every retailer. 

Learning how to understand and interpret data happens via Mathematics learning.

Buying a house? Navigating percentages and mortgage rates is directly related to understanding mathematics basics. The device you are using right now is build fundamentally on millions of mathematical calculations that happen every minute. Mathematics is embedded into computer technology and it would not exist without it. 

Katie Kim, for Plexxus, writes, “Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a CEO, a real estate agent, a biologist, or even a rocket scientist, it is without a doubt that numbers will be utilized. Basically, you will NEVER be able to escape math and you might as well accept it and have fun learning it while your career does not depend on it.”

Even careers in the trades involve maths. For example, a hairdresser that uses proportions of dye to mix for colour her clients hair, or a carpenter measuring the exact lengths of timber, giving change at retail store or an electrician calculating the right voltage setting for a home. 


Critical Life Skills

Perhaps the most important reason to study math is because the study of mathematics builds critical problem-solving skills. Every person in our community needs to know how to reason and analytically think through a problem. The habits a person develops cognitively associated with learning mathematics trains our brains to seek solutions in a logical way.

Mathematics provides clarity in problem solving and “mathematicians have always understood that problem-solving is central to their discipline because without a problem there is no mathematics. Problem-solving has played a central role in the thinking of educational theorists,” writes Jacob Klerlein and Sheena Hervey for Generation Ready. As a student of mathematics, you’ll develop better systems for problem-solving, learning how applied mathematics solves real-world issues.

Creative and analytical skills are highly desired by employers. Our brains develop important neural pathways for processing information and it’s no surprise that mathematics plays an important role in brain development and analytical skills.

Not to mention, learning math is good for your brain, helps you work out the time, helps you manage your finances, be a better bargain hunter,  and even helps you be a better cook!

Food for the brain

Recent research by Dr. Tanya Evans of Stanford University shows, “Children who know math are able to recruit certain brain regions more reliably, and have greater gray matter volume in those regions, than those who perform more poorly in math. The brain regions involved in higher math skills in high-performing children were associated with various cognitive tasks involving visual attention and decision-making.” 

Tim Radford writes in The Guardian, “Maths is one of the best ways to strengthen a brain. [...] The research shows that maths is good for all of your brain, not just the parts that other activities cannot reach." 

Mathematics students  not only will you deepen their knowledge of the field, they will also improve their brain power. 

Careers that value maths

Any career in the fields of science, technology or engineering requires a strong understand of Mathematics to excel. Careers on the fringes of these fields also have significant foundations in mathematics such as architecture, manufacturing or property development.

Some careers and jobs that benefit from a degree in mathematics include engineers, computer programmers, statisticians, actuaries, mathematics teachers, and even business managers. All of these careers appear to be different, but the one thing they have in common is that each of them require a strong developed skill set in mathematics. 

Solving todays biggest problems

Mathematicians are solving today’s biggest and most difficult problems in the world, from travelling to Mars to building electric vehicles to solving global warming. 

Even the celebrated astronomer, physicist, and engineer Galileo Galilei said, “If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics.” 

Studying mathematics not only will develop more engineers and scientists, but also produce more citizens who can learn and think creatively and critically, no matter their career fields. The workforce of tomorrow, in all fields, will demand it.

Choosing mathematics as a degree path can lead to surprising, and fulfilling, career paths.

When should you start?

Building foundation skills in Maths is important at a young age. The best way to ensure good mathematical skill and understanding in adults is repetition and opportunities to practice (even for five or ten minutes a day) starting from a very young age. 

We recommend starting to learn to count at the age of two years old. This will give your child a fantastic base understanding of numbers and how they work in the real world.

The importance of numeracy in childhood

We know that low numeracy levels in children at school usually equates to low numeracy skills in adulthood and this contributes to a number of factors affecting lives – from unemployment to health implications.

Numeracy in childhood starts with concepts such as sizes – the big ball, the small ball, and grouping objects by their similarities and differences – all the red objects, or a set of vehicles, for example. Children also start measuring things by eye such as filling their water bottle or looking to see if their sibling has more or less food than them. 

Ways you can encourage numeracy skills in your child

  • Get them involved in shopping and paying for things
  • Talk about time - "You have five minutes to put your shoes on before we leave"
  • Discuss how near and far away places are
  • Talk about how many houses are on your street
  • Ask your child to pour a drink of 250ml and then 350ml

There are of course a huge number of ways you can help your child practice their numeracy skills at home, but these are just some of the ways you can help young brains to make mathematical sense of the world around them.

What if my child struggles with numeracy?

Children who struggle with numeracy are also likely to be children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, even taking into account factors such as background and general ability. 

There seems to be more acceptance of “oh he isn’t good at maths” or, in adults, “I just don’t get maths” than in any other subject, yet good numeracy skills have benefits all through our lives, day in and day out. 

This makes the early teaching of maths, and fast intervention in the case of struggling pupils, essential to set the right path for numeracy for life. 

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