# Why study math?

It is not unusual for young students, perhaps while struggling to memorize the multiplication tables, to ask “Why should I study math?

As students continue to learn, their curiosity may become stimulated, they may become fascinated by math, and they are drawn to solving math problems. Alternatively, students may decide they are not good at math, or they dislike math, or they will never need to know math.

This attitude of liking or disliking math can develop and solidify at any age and in a variety of contexts. The reasons for studying math presented here are similarly diverse. One reason may be convincing when presented to one student, and may be discouraging, annoying, or even offensive when presented to another student.

Scan this long list of reasons and select those that are most likely to appeal to your student.

Here are some good reasons to study math:

## For Young Students

[edit | edit source]Studying math is like learning the superpower of problem-solving!^{[1]} Math helps you understand the world around you and can be incredibly fun. Here are a few cool reasons why you should study math:

**Everyday Life:**Math is everywhere! When you go shopping and want to make sure you have enough money, when you measure ingredients for baking cookies, or when you figure out how much time you have left to play before bedtime, you're using math without even realizing it.**Career Opportunities:**Many exciting jobs use math, like scientists, engineers, architects, doctors, and even video game designers. By studying math now, you're preparing yourself for some really cool careers in the future.**Brain Exercise:**Math exercises your brain and helps make it stronger. It's like a workout for your mind. The more you practice, the better you become at solving all sorts of puzzles and problems, not just in math but in many other subjects too.**Understanding the World:**Math helps you understand how things work in the world. You can use math to study patterns, solve mysteries, and even predict things. It's like having a special tool to unlock the secrets of the universe.**Achieving Goals:**Whether you dream of traveling, buying a cool gadget, or becoming a famous artist, math can help you achieve your goals. You'll need math to manage your money, plan trips, or even build amazing things.

So, studying math isn't just about numbers on a page; it's about gaining super skills that will help you in everyday life, open up exciting career possibilities, keep your brain sharp, make you a better problem solver, and help you understand and achieve your dreams. It's like learning the language of the universe!

Furthermore, it may be useful to tell the student:

Math is not taught so you can all become accountants or take up any job in which you simplify equations, math is taught to encourage logical thinking and to develop problem-solving skills. Both of which are practical life skills that all of you will go on to use.^{[2]}

Math problems are like pushups for the brain. When will you use a pushup for its own value? Never! But, every time you do a pushup, you get just a tiny bit stronger. Similarly, every time you try to solve a math problem, you get just a tiny bit better at abstract thought, problem solving, and logical thinking. And those skills will be useful in a myriad of situations throughout your life.

Math is good for your brain. A study from Stanford University^{[3]} indicates that children who are good at math use areas of the brain that also show strong cognitive tasks such as visual attention and decision-making. The study indicates that the same brain regions that help you do math are associated with decision-making and attentional processes.^{[4]}

Mathematics has evolved over many centuries to help solve problems. Math teaches us to think logically; to identify and state the problem clearly; to plan how to solve the problem; and then to apply the appropriate methods to evaluate and solve the problem.^{[5]}

We learn to evaluate and draw conclusions based on our knowledge. We are surrounded by a large number of statistical data and studies. To be a successful student and also an informed citizen, we should be able to evaluate these studies and the data they present quantitatively in order to decide what is true or reasonable. Mathematics help you recognize mistakes in thinking or analysis that we encounter in our lives.

## Making Math Fun

[edit | edit source]Making learning arithmetic and math fun for young students is essential to foster a positive attitude toward these subjects and encourage their continued exploration.^{[6]} Here are various creative and engaging ways to make math enjoyable for kids:

**Hands-On Activities:**Utilize tangible objects like blocks, counters, or even food items (like candies or fruits) to teach basic math concepts. Students can physically manipulate objects to understand addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.**Math Games:**Incorporate games into the learning process. Games such as Bingo, Math Puzzles, and Math Bingo make learning arithmetic enjoyable. Board games like Monopoly or card games like Uno can also reinforce math skills.**Math Apps and Educational Software:**There is an abundance of interactive math apps and educational software available. Programs like Prodigy, Khan Academy, and educational math games on tablets or computers can provide a fun, interactive learning experience.**Storytelling:**Integrate math into storytelling. Create math-related stories that young students can relate to. For instance, use characters, settings, and situations to illustrate mathematical problems.**Math in Nature:**Take students on nature walks or outdoor activities where they can explore patterns, shapes, and numbers in the environment. Identify geometric shapes in leaves or count the petals on a flower.**Math Art:**Combine math with art. Encourage students to create geometric patterns, tessellations, or even math-inspired paintings. This allows for a creative outlet while practicing math skills.**Cooking and Baking:**Involve students in cooking or baking activities, where they need to measure ingredients and follow recipes. This practical application of math concepts can be both educational and delicious.**Math Challenges and Competitions:**Organize friendly math competitions or challenges within the classroom. Encourage students to solve math problems or puzzles, and offer rewards or recognition for their efforts.**Math Storybooks:**Incorporate math-themed storybooks into your curriculum. Books like "The Greedy Triangle" or "One Grain of Rice" can help children understand math concepts through storytelling.**Math in Music:**Explore the connection between math and music. Introduce rhythm, patterns, and counting in music. Let students play with musical instruments to grasp mathematical concepts.**Math Manipulatives:**Use math manipulatives like fraction blocks, base-ten blocks, and algebra tiles to make abstract concepts more concrete. These tools help students visualize math problems.**Math Challenges and Puzzles:**Provide students with a variety of math puzzles and brain teasers. Encourage them to solve these challenges as a form of entertainment and mental exercise.**Math Field Trips:**Organize field trips to places that showcase the practical application of math, such as a construction site, a bank, or a science museum.**Math Role-Play:**Create scenarios where students play roles that require mathematical skills, such as running a pretend store, calculating change, or measuring ingredients for a "restaurant."**Peer Teaching:**Encourage students to teach math concepts to each other. This not only reinforces their own understanding but also promotes teamwork and collaboration.

By using these creative and interactive methods, teachers can help young students develop a strong foundation in arithmetic and math while making the learning process enjoyable and memorable.

## For Teachers

[edit | edit source]Teachers may find the following techniques help students become more interested and better enjoy math:

Not every student enjoys the challenge of arithmetic. Keeping your students interested in what you're teaching in math is a process that takes on various forms for each individual student, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The following is a collection of strategies that have been shown to increase students' enthusiasm for arithmetic in any classroom:

**Use real-world examples:** Use real world examples to show students how math is relevant in their lives. If you're teaching about addition, for example, ask students what they would have to add together to get 100%. You could also ask them about the price of something and have them figure out what percentage of that price is tax.

**Use visuals:** Visuals are also a great way to make math concepts more concrete. You can use pictures, diagrams or graphs to show students how things work or why they should do something in particular.

**Use manipulatives:** Manipulatives are physical objects that students can touch, move, and interact with to better understand abstract mathematical ideas. Using manipulatives is a powerful and hands-on approach to teaching elementary math concepts. Here are several ideas for using manipulatives.

**Use interactive games:** Using interactive games is an engaging and effective way to teach elementary math concepts. These games make learning fun and provide hands-on experiences that can enhance understanding. Here are several ideas for using interactive games.

Students may also enjoy these math adventures.

## For Middle School Students

[edit | edit source]People enjoy studying math for various reasons, and it's different for everyone. Here are some common reasons why some people find math enjoyable:^{[7]}

**Problem-Solving:**Math is like solving puzzles and riddles. Many people find satisfaction in tackling challenging math problems and coming up with solutions. It's like a mental game or a fun challenge.**Logical and Precise:**Math is a subject where everything has to make sense and follow a logical pattern. Some people appreciate the precision and clarity that math offers.**Universal Language:**Math is often called the universal language because it's the same everywhere in the world. People who enjoy traveling or communicating with others from different cultures find math helpful as it transcends language barriers.**Real-Life Applications:**Many people like math because they can see how it applies to real-life situations. Whether it's calculating discounts when shopping or figuring out travel distances, math is practical and useful.**Creativity:**While math may seem rigid, there's also room for creativity in finding different approaches to solving problems. Some people enjoy the creativity involved in math.**Sense of Achievement:**When you solve a challenging math problem or understand a complex concept, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. That feeling of success can be very rewarding and enjoyable.**Career Opportunities:**Math skills are valuable in many professions, so some people enjoy studying math because it opens up a wide range of career opportunities, from engineering to finance to computer science.**Curiosity:**Some people are naturally curious and want to understand how things work. Math provides a framework for exploring and understanding the world around us, from the behavior of planets to the patterns in music.**Continuous Learning:**Math is a subject that offers endless learning opportunities. There's always something new to discover or a more challenging problem to solve, which can be intellectually stimulating.**Sense of Control:**Math can provide a sense of control over various situations. It allows you to make informed decisions, plan for the future, and have confidence in your abilities.

Ultimately, what makes math enjoyable for someone is highly personal. It could be one or a combination of these factors, or it might be something entirely unique to the individual. The key is to find what aspects of math you personally enjoy and focus on those to make your math learning experience more enjoyable.

## For Older Students

[edit | edit source]The allure of math is a fascinating and often deeply personal experience that captivates many individuals.^{[8]} It's like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered, and here are some aspects that contribute to its allure:

**Puzzle Solving:**Math is like a never-ending puzzle. Each problem presents a challenge, and the satisfaction of solving it is immensely rewarding. It's like unlocking a secret code or finding the missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle.**Order in Chaos:**In a world full of complexity and chaos, math provides a sense of order and structure. It's a way to make sense of the universe and understand the underlying patterns that govern the natural world.**Universality:**Math is a universal language that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries. It's the same whether you're in New York, Tokyo, or Cairo. This universality connects people worldwide and opens up opportunities for collaboration and communication.**Elegance:**There is a certain elegance in mathematical concepts and equations. Many mathematicians describe their work as beautiful, and it's easy to see why. The simplicity and symmetry of mathematical ideas can be truly captivating.**Endless Exploration:**Math is like an uncharted territory with no limits. There are always new problems to explore, new theorems to prove, and new concepts to understand. The sense of continuous discovery is alluring.**Practicality:**Math is incredibly practical. It's used in various aspects of everyday life, from budgeting and cooking to building bridges and sending rockets into space. Knowing math can make you feel more empowered and capable.**Intellectual Challenge:**For those who enjoy a mental challenge, math provides an intellectual playground. It encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity in finding innovative solutions.**Historical Significance:**Math has played a crucial role in shaping human history. From ancient civilizations to modern technology, math has been at the heart of many scientific and technological advancements.**Career Opportunities:**Math skills are in high demand across numerous professions, leading to exciting career opportunities. This allure often attracts individuals who see math as a gateway to fulfilling and well-paying careers.**Sense of Achievement:**Accomplishing mathematical milestones, whether it's mastering multiplication tables or proving a complex theorem, brings a profound sense of achievement and pride.**Influence on Other Fields:**Math isn't confined to its own realm but has a profound impact on other disciplines like physics, engineering, computer science, and even art and music. The allure of math extends to these interconnected fields.**Community and Collaboration:**Math enthusiasts often form a close-knit community. Sharing ideas, collaborating on research, and discussing mathematical concepts with like-minded individuals can be a source of great joy.

In essence, the allure of math lies in its ability to engage our minds, provide order in a chaotic world, offer endless exploration, and lead to both personal growth and contributions to society. It's a journey filled with wonder and fascination, drawing people into its enchanting world.

The beauty of math is a concept deeply appreciated by mathematicians, educators, and enthusiasts alike.^{[9]} It's a beauty that transcends aesthetics and taps into the elegance, symmetry, and profound simplicity underlying mathematical concepts. Here's how math is often described as beautiful:

**Elegance and Simplicity:**Many mathematical equations and proofs are astonishingly elegant and simple. They distill complex ideas into concise and beautiful forms. Examples include Euler's identity (e^{πi}+ 1 = 0), which combines five fundamental mathematical constants into a single equation, and the Pythagorean theorem (a^{2}+ b^{2}= c^{2}), which relates the sides of a right triangle in a beautifully straightforward manner.**Symmetry:**Mathematics often involves the exploration of symmetry, both in geometric shapes and abstract concepts. Symmetrical patterns and equations are inherently pleasing to the eye, like the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ...) found in many aspects of nature and art.**Unifying Principles:**Math has a unique ability to unify seemingly unrelated ideas. For instance, calculus elegantly connects the concepts of differentiation and integration, showing how they are two sides of the same coin. This unification is profoundly beautiful.**Patterns and Fractals:**Math helps us understand and appreciate the intricate patterns found in nature, from the branching of trees to the geometry of snowflakes. Fractals, such as the Mandelbrot set, reveal stunning complexity emerging from simple equations.**Hidden Order:**Math often uncovers hidden order within apparent chaos. Chaos theory, for example, shows that seemingly random systems can have underlying patterns and predictability. This revelation of order is intellectually captivating.**Aesthetic Proofs:**Mathematicians often seek not just to prove theorems but to find elegant and visually appealing proofs. These proofs are like works of art that convey complex ideas in a beautiful, understandable manner.**Puzzle Solving:**Mathematical puzzles and challenges can be like brain teasers, engaging our minds in playful and creative ways. The beauty lies in the satisfaction of solving these puzzles.**Universal Language:**Math serves as a universal language that bridges cultures and languages. Its simplicity and universality are beautiful because they foster global communication and collaboration.**Historical Significance:**The history of mathematics is rich with stories of brilliant minds who made groundbreaking discoveries. Understanding the historical context and the struggle to uncover mathematical truths adds to the beauty of the subject.**Practicality and Utility:**The beauty of math is not just abstract; it has practical applications in countless fields, from engineering and physics to computer science and economics. Seeing math in action, solving real-world problems, is inherently satisfying.

In summary, the beauty of math lies in its ability to distill complex ideas into elegant simplicity, reveal hidden order, and provide a universal language for understanding and describing the world. It's a beauty that engages our minds, sparks creativity, and invites us to explore the awe-inspiring intricacies of the mathematical universe.

## Further Reading

[edit | edit source]Students who are interested in cultivating interest in mathematics may wish to read these books:

- Bell, E. T. (January 1, 1988).
*Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science*. Tempus Books. pp. 462. ISBN 978-1556151736.

## References

[edit | edit source]- ↑ This section was generated by ChatGPT responding to the prompt: “What is the best answer I can give to a 5th grade student who asks ‘Why should I study math?’”
- ↑ Found on Quora.
- ↑ This is your brain on math. September 12, 2015, Kevin Hartnett, Globe Correspondent.
- ↑ 5 Reasons math is important. May 31, 2022, Steiner Ranch, Mathnasium.
- ↑ Why Do We Study Mathematics? July 11, 2012, APU Edge Staff.
- ↑ This section was generated by ChatGPT responding to the prompt: "Describe a variety of ways we can make learning arithmetic and math fun for young students."
- ↑ ChatGPT generated this section responding to the prompt: "Why do some people enjoy studying math?"
- ↑ ChatGPT generated this section responding to the prompt: "Describe the allure of math".
- ↑ ChatGPT generated this section responding to the prompt: "Describe the beauty of math".