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Date Created: 12/20/15
Maths For Kids (1 Of 3) - The Relevance Of School Maths To The Real World The origin of mathematical thought lie in the concepts of number, magnitude and form; a way to quantify and make some sense of a confusing world. Such concepts would have been part of everyday life of hunter-gatherer societies where social organisation and the ability to count and compare would place them at a survival advantage. The modern world offers its own set of challenges yet being able to quantify and compare objects and concepts is still an essential component for efficient living and making the right choices. It can be hard for students to imagine how learning algebra and geometry can help in the real world, yet this fact is rarely highlighted in instruction because mathematics is invariably taught as a 'theoretical' subject. Use of mathematics in everyday life can be divided in to domestic tasks and those revolving around work. In a domestic situation, mathematics revolve round basic calculations involving managing finances, measuring and estimating areas for DIY projects; scaling up or down recipe proportion quantities; or ensuring the correct change is received after a transaction. The more complex domestic mathematical problem solving concerns percentages such as working out the portion on sale reductions; looking for a good deal for a loan or credit card; or working out how much interest is due in a savings account. In the professional world the level of mathematics can depend on the nature of the work, and its application is crucial because that can be the difference between success and failure. Accountancy is a series of mathematical calculations to show the health of a business involving profit and loss, an inherent nature of all businesses and will show how much tax the business will owe at the end of the financial year. Many jobs by their nature have a strong mathematical emphasis, such as quantity surveying, architecture, planning and computer programming. Virtually all scientific jobs such as physics, astronomy and engineering use advanced maths to test models and predict outcomes of experiments. In even deeper scientific fields, such as cosmology and quantum mechanics, complex mathematics takes on a life of its own. In this esoteric field, teams of scientists from Einstein onwards have strived to find answers to the most fundamental questions of nature, such as 'how did the universe start?' Mathematical education benefits all who receive instruction, irrespective of how much they will apply those tools in real life. Mathematics is a very logical science - some would argue an art. The clear thinking required to solve problems in maths helps train the mind, giving it deeper tools of analytical thinking which helps all of us sort out myriad daily decisions later in life. This is all the more true today with the universal availability of calculators, computers and mobile phones. Yet, the world still throws challenges: not least is the problem of dealing with these new electronic devices and understanding their logical way of menus, options and controls. The next in this series of articles will deal with mental arithmetic games and their uses in our daily lives. Maths
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