If you’re like most people, when you were a child you probably sat in class wondering why learning a particular STEM concept or lesson was so important. If you were ever a parent who tried helping students with their STEM homework, you may have wondered the same thing. The truth is, parental attitudes towards subjects like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), can influence a child’s attitude about the subjects as well. This not only impacts their view of the subjects but their attitude towards academics as well.
That’s why encouraging children to not only take subjects like math seriously but excel in them is so important. In the end, they’ll be able to benefit greatly from increased functioning math problems and have endless opportunities in their lives and careers as a result.
So, why is math so important?
It Teaches Critical and Logical Thinking Skills
Math is without a doubt an important subject in our everyday lives since it teaches students logical and critical thinking skills. Things, like balancing checkbooks, paying taxes, leaving a tip at a restaurant, and measuring the dimensions of a room, are all part of our daily lives. Mathematical concepts teach our students logic and order. When it comes to mathematics, you can apply an equation to a problem in order to get a predictable outcome. This also means that precious steps must be followed in order to obtain the desired results.
The discipline learned in math classes can easily carry over into everyday life for students of all ages — and since companies know this, they purposely seek math enthusiasts based on the presumption that since these candidates are good at math, they’ll be logical thinkers. Math is also one of the few subjects that give students the opportunity to explain how they came to their mathematical solution through daily practice problems. In math class, for instance, students can show how they came to the conclusion of a particular problem by describing the formulas and procedures used throughout each step. While some students may not like these requirements, they’re useful for everyday life.
It Helps Students Learn Life Skills
Life skills are the skills students need to become productive once they’re part of society. They are the kind of interpersonal skills that provide students with the opportunity to develop lifelong relationships and help them think before doing. This could be why political leaders and other administrators often play the beat for teaching life skills as a pathway for students to have a chance at employment, and they’re right. This is where math comes in handy. Although math skills can’t teach students how to dress for things like job interviews, it can teach them how to think critically before answering questions during an interview.
Math can also teach students how to work collaboratively with others and teach them personal accountability skills. How? By setting the framework for students to develop stronger problem-solving skills and improved work ethics. With that in mind, math skills students learn in school should help them complete specific tasks outside the classroom on time by following directions and remaining on task.
Supports an Improved Economic Growth in Education
According to the U.S. News, 20 percent of all jobs within the coming years will require candidates to be knowledgeable in at least one of the STEM fields. This means that even entry-level jobs in fields unrelated to mathematics will still require current students to have math knowledge. Cashiers, for example, must be able to count money, while a representative for a customer service company might need to know math to discuss information regarding the customer’s bill.
Even if students plan on attending a vocational school (a school designed to train students for a specific job), they will still need to develop math skills in order to fulfill the demands their job requires. If you’re a pharmacy technician, for instance, then you’ll need to pay attention to details. Details that involves the right dosage of pills, and details that involve accurate measurements. Students who aren’t interested in vocational school will still need to have advanced math skills, as this is a requirement to obtain a bachelor's degree.
In the end, students may ask why math is important, but a well-designed lesson plan can answer this question for students. For teachers, it’s important to incorporate different techniques in your instruction plans. They should be designed to demonstrate relevance in the child’s daily life, and pull from real-world situations –– like money transactions, and banking. This is what will help students understand the rationale behind the concepts they’re learning.
Herman Davis is passionate about K-12 education and loves exploring different ways to make learning a fun experience. If you can’t catch him the classroom, you might be able to find him at the gym, or watching football (Go Sun Devils!). Thanks!