When Am I Ever Going to Use This Math?! - Part I
"When Am I Ever Going to Use This Math?"
If I’ve heard this question once, I’ve heard it literally hundreds of times during my teaching and tutoring careers. And you know what? This is a good question. The problem is: We don’t often have an answer that satisfies.
Many times we don’t actually know how a student might end up using their math, simply because we can’t tell the future. Sometimes the way the student may use the math is more sophisticated to explain to them than the math itself. Sometimes the topic is merely a building block for a later topic that they will use. This is definitely not a well-received, satisfactory answer!
One thing I do know is that many are surprised later when they find a use for the math they learned. My twin nephews are a case in point. They’d be the first to tell you that they were not in love with school, and especially math. Rather than continue their “agony” by going to college, they both decided to go to heavy-equipment-operator school. Half of their days in the school were spent in a classroom learning how they would use algebra and geometry in their work. That surprised them! During the other half of the day, they practiced what they learned on the big machines. I had to smile (and NOT say “I told you so”) when they came to me and said, “Aunt Carol, we finally get why you said math is important. We’re actually using it!”
thinktanK¹² Blog: I Hate Math!
K¹².com: Math Sample Lessons