Why Math is Important

As a private Math tutor I get asked this question a lot. I sit there explaining how to solve a simultaneous equation and I get interrupted by the student who demands to know how this will help them in life.

My answer to this question is always the same and always will be, and if I got a pound for every time that I have been asked this question then I probably wouldn’t have to work anymore! I therefore decided to create this article so that anybody reading this will know the answer and not need to pester their Mathematics teacher.

Algebra has real life applications from engineering to computer games design and from predicting future trends in the financial markets to designing circuit boards. More generally, mathematics is fundamental in everyday life, from working out the VAT on a TV to calculating how much change you will receive when you buy a chocolate bar.

The fundamental building blocks of life can be explained by mathematics, from the pattern of a honey cone to the orbit of the planets around the sun. Without our understanding of mathematics we would truly all be lost. Many people see mathematics are boring and irrelevant, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Developing the latest computer games is certainly not a boring career, and can be both lucrative and fun. Designing the next generation of electronic technology is certainly not dull either. 

We all marvel at the latest gadgets when they hit the market such as the latest mobile phones. They are so often taken for granted. We never really appreciate the complexity of this technology and the work that has gone into developing these devices. Without mathematics these would not have been made possible. So, as you can see, if we are to continue to make technological progress, make new discoveries and land on mars we need mathematics and we need to embrace it. Without people studying mathematics we will all lose something in the future!

So there we have it, a justifiable explanation as to why mathematics is so vital to our future survival. It alarms me when I see reports that the number of people taking A- level mathematics is steadily decreasing. Students just don’t seem to see the relevance of the subject anymore and see how exciting that subject can actually be. 

Admittedly, when I studied A-Level mathematics there were times when I honestly thought that I was going mad! It would be wrong of me to say that the subject is a ‘walk in the park’, it certainly is not. It is a challenging subject, but with this challenge brings immense rewards. Solving a complex problem can be immensely satisfying, knowing that you can do something that not many people can do is something to be immensely proud of. Far too many students these days shy away from real challenges and more often than not go for the easy option and take subjects that are less challenging.

There is hope in the form of a task force that has been set up by David Cameron should the Conservatives come to power in the next general election. The task force aims to devise strategies to improve mathematical performance by looking at teaching methods in schools and investigating whether tests are tough enough. The task force aims also to end the culture of math fear in Britain. An arduous task you may say, but we need to do something now in order to ensure that Britain remains competitive on the global stage.

So the answer is clear, mathematics has everything to do with life and it is something that we cannot shy away from!  

Steven Britton is a private Mathematics tutor a Math tuition agency Top Grade Tutoring. He has developed many GCSE Math Revision resources such as the GCSE Math Master DVD.

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