If you
choose to not take all the math that is available to you in high school
the day will come when you will wish you had. So, just in case this
procalimation could turn out to be correct why take the chance? Do
yourself a favor, take 4 years of math in high school, what can it hurt?
If, after reading the text below you still need some convincing then please go on and read the page that is linked here:--->> Math. |

Question: Why do we study Math? Prepared by AOL's Academic Assistance Center staff.

This is a very difficult question, and a very subjective one. There is not going to be a single answer. For some, the attraction in mathematics is the beauty inherent in taking a relatively simple system of rules and discovering what sorts of patterns emerge from them. Some people think of mathematics as being somehow rooted in the nature of the universe, and unraveling the mysteries of mathematics gives some insight into the universe itself. Others think of mathematics as a series of increasingly elaborate tools with which to solve increasingly complex problems in science.

Of course, mathematics is not a single
thing. Mathematics is a whole array of different studies, linked
by some common ideas, but vastly different in goals and methods.
This includes the study of Fractals and Dynamic Systems, Real Analysis,
Abstract Algebra, and a host of other disciplines. One of the amazing
things about math is that even as we continue to study certain parts of
it, new ideas and new kinds of math are constantly being discovered, which
start a whole new branches of study. Math is one field where we will
never run out of things to discover. And that may be part of the
attraction: you can always count on there being something else if you look
a little further or a little deeper into a subject.

Prepared by PrfPAL, AAC Staff

Question: How will math be important in life?

Math is a language, just like English or French. There are ideas which can only be expressed in mathematical terms. Sometimes when we speak in English there are things we want to express that are difficult to put into words. There is not always the right expression that fits what we wish to say. We sometimes substitute phrases from another language to fit our intent more clearly.

Math is like this, too. Many things that cannot be expressed in English are easily expressed in math, and these things have led to important discoveries about our world and the universe. Our understanding of physics, biology, chemistry, and other sciences is often rooted in a mathematical framework. It also takes math to balance a checkbook.

At some point in your mathematical career, you may be one of the lucky ones who sees math in a way that helps you understand science in a mathematical language. It will become a tool that helps you to express your ideas about the universe, the world, or mundane things in a way that English does not do well.

Seeing the world in mathematical terms, using mathematical language, is an awesome experience. The language of math will begin to be a tool to understand how things in the world work. Most students do not pursue their mathematical studies with this in mind, but then again, how many students who take a German course actually use German to express ideas on a daily basis?

Prepared by AACTchTCM, AAC Staff (Edited by AACMsMarci)

Question: Why do we have to learn math that we may never use in real life?

That is a good question and there are many reasons. First, let me dispel the notion that you will "never" use this mathematics in "real life." Real life holds many twists and turns, and you will be utterly astounded at the stuff you use, the new interests you pick up (or lose) and the opportunities that turn up or that would have turned up had you been able to recognize them. When I was in school, I knew exactly what I would be when I grew up and I was wrong. Most people my age find that they were wrong too. You are in a generation that will find its members making 3 – 5 major career changes in a lifetime.

School is a training ground for minds. It is not so much a place where you learn facts--after all, facts are written in books and you can just look them up when you need them (if you know where to look, and what they mean). Rather, it is a way to train yourself to learn what these facts mean, and how to figure out what they mean, and how to figure out when they are not even facts at all, but totally wrong. Part of the training of the mind is learning how to solve systematic problems. Math is one of the tools, one of the training grounds.

Mathematics is also a great window on the way the world works--whether it is why the price of beets goes up (or down), why the sky is blue, how to design a radio, how much to charge for your new invention, how long to cook a turkey, or whether it is better to make something the cheap way (with an expensive machine) or the expensive way (with a cheap machine).

Mathematics trains the brain to think logically and carefully. This way, when you read the newspaper, or somebody's political opinion, or some scientific result that will affect your life, you will be able to rationally and non-emotionally figure out how much of what is said is true, and how much is, well, "beef by-products." It is easy to be swayed by statistics, because all the numbers look so, "accurate". But by reading carefully and applying what you know in mathematics you will see whether driving 55 mph really does save lives, or gasoline, or whatever, and whether the savings is worth it.

Mathematics is fun. Martin Gardner (who used to write "mathematical games" in Scientific American) has had his columns collected in several (many) books, and they are all worth reading. There are many fascinating branches of mathematics that tickle the brain, and do not look anything like what you are doing now. However, they all share the logical legacy of mathematics. Even game theory is math, believe it or not, and the integers can be equated with different games according to mathematical rules.

School is a way of preparing you to handle whatever comes your way, because nobody knows what will come your way, or what will catch your fancy in the future, not even you.

There are many connections within math and the most interesting stuff is the relationships between all that stuff. For example, the relationship between a straight line and an equation, a curve on a graph, and a set of data. That the graph could represent the color on the screen vs. the position of the mouse, or any of a thousand other things.

This only scratches the surface, but I hope it gets you started. Talk to some of the teachers, and tell them that you want to see examples of math being fun, like Martin Gardner's books, and they will be able to point you in the right direction for your level right now.

Reasons you need good math skills:

1. Because you never know what you might end up needing in real life. Perhaps you will need to know the area of a floor to buy floor material, or how to decide a 120% markup for a business you own. I frankly am surprised as an adult how often I need to use "boring old math" to figure out something I want to know.

2. To stretch your brain and help your problem solving skills. If you learn how to approach the puzzle of math in a systematic way, it helps you when solving other kinds of problems.

3. Finally, the real reason, because it is one of the mean things adults like to do to kids, just to show them who the boss is.

Prepared by InstrMingo, AOL's
Academic Assistance Center (edited by TchrGeom)