Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler How to make math important in the real world

  • How to make math important in the real world

    Posted by Amanda Thompson on November 22, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    One of my biggest struggles in teaching high school math is convincing kids that they will use math later on. I know they will use basic math skills for the rest of there life as well as problem-solving skills, but when they ask me why they have to learn to solve quadratics 3 different ways, I normally struggle to find an answer. Not only does this make it hard to motivate them, but hard to motivate myself to teach them things I don’t feel like they will use in the future. Any advice for teaching concepts that are not used much outside of strictly mathematical fields? 

    Jon replied 3 years, 3 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Courtney Madora

    November 25, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Amanda, I struggle with this as well! I have found that is best to be honest with them. Sometimes I tell them that some of what they learn won’t be used in the real world unless they go into certain professions, but that math is learning how to problem solve…that is a skill that everyone will use!

    I also try to take pictures of situations where I have used math in my daily life. I have taken pictures of recipes, receipts, math fails, etc. 

    • Amanda Thompson

      December 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      Taking pictures is a good idea! 

      Honesty has been my go-to for some stuff but then it feels like they just check out. But problem-solving skills are important so I will work to make that more clear with topics like this. 

  • Jon

    December 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Hey @amanda-thompson and @courtney-madora 

    I’m usually pretty honest with my students. Most of them will never solve quadratic equations every again outside of formal education. I stress that mathematics teaches us to become logical problem solvers. We learn about new ways of solving problems, we learn new skills to solve problems with and then we solve problems using those skills. That itself is a skill that you will use everyday for the rest of your life. 

    If you get any job, most likely you’ll have to learn new skills and then be required to solve problems with those new skills. Situations in your life will arise that are complex and you’ll be thankful that you worked out logical solutions to address those issues. Other classes in high school don’t teach that logic. It’s math class that trains our brains to grow and think logically and creatively.