You could have heard one of these statements: I hate mathematics. Where can one ever use Mathematics in life? Mathematics is just hard. This subject is boring. I was good at Mathematics, but when I met teacher X, my fortunes changed. Maybe you have heard one of your parents often say Mathematics was not my thing. Well, it was not their thing and it certainly does not mean it is not your thing too. This blog is about why we should love and enjoy the subject.
First, Mathematics uses critical thinking and builds problem-solving skills when you solve problems. Critical thinking is at the core of most intellectual activity that involves learning to recognise or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use the information to solve the problem. An interesting problem is “A rectangle has a perimeter of 12m. What might be its area?” Problem-solving skills involve, looking and understanding the problem, come up with a plan to solve it and once one gets solutions, verify them.
Second, just as your body needs exercise your brain does too and the best way to exercise the brain is by solving mathematical problems. Mathematics is play for your brain. Take it as a hobby.
Third, Mathematics and science go hand in hand, in fact, if Mathematics is right then science will be right. To study any scientific discipline, you need mathematics. Doctors need mathematics lest they overdose patients; Chemists, Physicists, Geologists, Health scientists and even Social scientists depend on mathematics. The success of every discipline involves the act of questioning, testing, and problem-solving.
Fourth, surely mathematical problems are not easy to solve, but finding the answers can be extremely fulfilling. Learn to rejoice at any correct answer you get when solving a problem. Also note that some problems are easier than others, and part of the fun is figuring it out. Getting answers is an adventure, enjoy every moment and celebrate your victories, which energises the brain. William Paul Thurston once said, “Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.”
Fifth, not only is mathematics fun, it is useful in everyday life. It can save you money by knowing how to calculate discounts and subsequent savings. For those who love cooking it helps out in the kitchen when you mix ingredients. Fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, measurements and estimates frequently show up in the kitchen when cooking. Imagine just adding salt or spice to a dish, you can choose to see the mathematics right there.
It is always important to note that even if a mathematical problem has a “correct” answer, there are many ways one can get to the answer. Knowing this helps you make choices in life. You are able to choose the shortest distance that saves you fuel and time. Mathematics is beautiful and it is sad that some can’t see that beauty. Marcus du Sautoy said, “Mathematics has beauty and romance. It is not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It is an extraordinary place; it is worth spending time there.” Take mathematics as a journey. The destination, i.e the answer, is important, but so is the journey (how you think about and solve a problem). A good relationship is like mathematics. It adds happiness, reduces problems, multiplies fun, and divides tension. Mathematics may not teach us how to add love or how to minus hate. But it gives every reason to hope that every problem has a solution. Shakuntala Devi said, “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.” Like, Alvin E. Roth, I have always been interested in using mathematics to make the world work better, so can you!