News from Mathnasium of Naperville
Math in everyday life
May 13, 2019
You may think math is only a subject you study and that it isn’t always applicable to your everyday life, when in fact, you’re actually using math all the time. Math is all around you and is a part of your everyday routines from planting in your garden, to managing money to creating art. Here are 8 ways math sneaks into your daily habits:
Ask any contractor or construction worker and they'll tell you just how important math is when it comes to building anything, but contractors are not the only people who build stuff. Lots of people like to take on home projects! Creating something hand built from raw materials or putting something together following directions requires creativity, the right set of tools, and a broad range of mathematics. Whether you work in building related jobs or own a home, having the ability to build and repair is very handy.
FAMILY PRACTICE IDEA: Make a small building or house from cardboard boxes. Or build a bird house.
Traveling by road, sea or air requires math. Air travelers need to calculate departure and arrival schedules and convert time zones to know how to prepare for trips. They also need to know the weight of their luggage, unless they want to end up paying a lot more for their baggage. If they really want to go the extra mile, they might also factor in some additional aviation-related math like speed, altitude and flight time.
This one is pretty obvious. Money innately has to do with math. At the very least, cash, debit cards, credit cards and checks are all forms of money that require management in order to buy and sell things and accounts require balancing and transferring. However, properly managed finances can go beyond just managing what you have and into making you money. Investing in things like stocks, bonds, money market accounts, retirement accounts and real estate can all be ways to go beyond managing day to day funds and into long term goals that can lead to good dividends. Math can help you build a great financial future!
Some people like shopping, others don’t. Like it or not, it’s generally something most people have to do. The grocery store, in particular, is one of the best examples of a place where math is real as it involves measurement, estimation and quantity.
FAMILY PRACTICE IDEA: Have your child guess how many objects there are in a bag and how much they weigh after grocery shopping. Here are some questions and tips to prompt educated guesses:
- How full is the bag?
- Could it hold more?
- Why do some bags hold more or less than others?
- Put several 1-pound items in a bag and let your child pick it up beforehand for them to get an idea of a good weight estimate.
Hosting people at your house is a great way to have a fun night (as long as someone else is doing the dishes!), and it also requires basic math. Totaling the number of guests and dinnerware, cooking and baking the appropriate amount of food, and timing the food correctly all uses on multiplication, subtraction and division. Party on!
Tracking sports is a fun pastime for many that requires quite a bit of math, especially statistics. Football fans often calculate yardage gains and passes, basketball fans track rebounds, break-aways, shots, missed shots and passes and baseball fans often factor in batting averages and earned run averages. Then, of course, there’s keeping track of scores. All of this math is increased by the popularity of fantasy leagues, where math is used to statistically choose players from teams and calculate individual players’ performance.
To really understand most any sport, you have to use math but how focused on math do individual athletes have to be in order to succeed? It depends on the sport, but some are sports require high math participation for athletes if they want to track and measure progress. Endurance athletes like runners, bikers and swimmers chart important things like mileage and speed when training. Other athletes like pole-vaulters or gymnasts, those that display dramatic displays of strength with gravity as a factor, use more geometry to measure jumping and body contortion to track performance and progress, and prevent injury.
Do you like eating out with your family? If so, math is certainly accompanying you. It’s a given that the cost difference between different menu items varies depending on time and expense of ingredients and you may or may not need to budget accordingly when you go out. Regardless, math is most certainly part of every dining transaction in the form of the bill and the tip. Getting percentages right for the tip ensures that your server is paid correctly.
FAMILY PRACTICE IDEA: Using decimal addition, have your family take turns adding up the items ordered before you get the bill. Once the check arrives, have them calculate the tip by moving the decimal up get 10% and then doubling it.
It may not seem possible, but math is everywhere, operating in real life all around us. It’s important to keep studies strong in math, and remember, if a student you know is struggling with math, have them come visit our math tutorial center at Mathnasium of Naperville.
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