“Why do I need math?”
“I’m never going to see this ever again in my entire life.”
“This is pointless.”
If you hear your students say any of the above phrases or something similar, believe me, you are not alone! The first thing I say to my students is often, “Yeah, in high school I thought and said the same exact thing. But here I am, the Algebra and Geometry department head here at AJ Tutoring!” Had I known this years back, I would have likely changed my mentality towards math and had a much better experience. Even beyond tutoring, I find myself using the critical thinking, logic and problem solving skills ingrained in my brain from the math skills taught throughout primary and secondary school. Yes, math is everywhere, even in psychology, and shopping, and law! It goes without saying that math is useful on the SAT!
You’ll essentially be solving for x for the entirety of your life. Even if x is not actually a physical, or literal, x, you will be solving for what x stands for: an unknown. Remember, we use letters as variables to stand for something else, and many times we are either simplifying a problem, or trying to figure out what or why something is. Sound familiar? Phrasing it that way sounds much more relatable to a variety of fields!
Can I afford this sandwich? Well, how much money do I currently have and how much is the sandwich itself? If I need to borrow money from someone, do I just have to pay them back the cost of the sandwich or is interest involved?
Another example: you just bought an apartment or house and now need to put your artistic skills to work for the interior design and decorating! This involves measuring, units, possibly drawing models, all sorts of shapes and dimensions and other geometry stuff!
A third example would be arguments. We all argue. Sometimes things get heated, sometimes things get shut down quickly due to someone having neither sound logic nor reasons to back up their statements. Though you may not have to prove that two triangles are congruent to each other or that a line is indeed a line, the critical thinking and logical reasoning skills required in those pesky geometry proofs can be useful whenever you are trying to persuade someone about basically anything. Every statement must have a reason to justify it, and any logic holes would often be grounds for points being taken off or lack of credit altogether. In a trial, lack of sound logic and reasoning skills, built in geometry classes and beyond, would lead to a loss of a case.
There are many, many, perhaps even an infinite amount of examples pertaining to how math – particularly algebra and geometry – applies to the real world. All it takes is an open mind, some motivation, a positive attitude, and math isn’t awful! Not only is it not awful, but also if you see its usefulness early on, you will subconsciously look for more uses and have a much more well-rounded outlook on life, and probably more successful regardless of the field you find yourself in.