Updated: May 18
Sometimes, it can seem like the Maths we’re taught in schools isn’t that applicable to our every day lives. It can seem like Maths is just a collection of complicated equations that we don’t need to understand. If we look closely though, it becomes apparent that Maths is at it’s heart, the art of problem solving, and that these skills are more applicable to the world around us than we might initially realize. If we look hard enough, we can find some interesting examples of the problem-solving skills developed in the Maths classroom.
Maths is really important in Engineering, and Engineering is really important for keeping the world around us operating. Engineering plays an important part in all of our lives, from providing the infrastructure for water supply to completing the calculations needed to make sure a bridge is safe to drive on. Engineering combines Mathematical calculations with problem solving to solve the problems necessary to keep our world running smoothly. As Albert Einstein said, ‘Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.’
2). Managing Money.
Whether you’re managing massive budgets professionally, or managing your own monthly or weekly budget, money management is an important part of all our lives. To effectively manage your budget, you need to be able to calculate your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses, and Maths is essential to do this. As well as managing a budget, Maths can be very useful when considering different loans or interest rates. This is important because it allows us to make good financial decisions that can reduce stress and help us save.
3). Fashion Design.
Maths is essential in fashion design, as designers use it to fit the garments they make to their models as well as to keep sizing consistent. Designers can also use Maths based computer programs to help visualize their 2D designs as 3D outfits. To design the outfits seen on runways and in our shops, designers need a keen sense of geometry visualization to imagine how their outfits will look before they make them, a skill which can be developed through Mathematics. Mathematics is also used in the production of clothes as the designers need to be able to measure their patterns and fabric very precisely to make sure it all fits together properly when it is being assembled.
4). Modelling real-world events.
To understand the world we live in, it’s important that we can make and understand Mathematical models to explore how different situations might develop. We can use probability to model the spread of disease, the growth of populations and weather predictions. Using Maths to model the atmosphere’s future state is called Numerical Weather Prediction, and this uses observations made by satellites, river gauges, weather balloons and a nationwide network of ground-based observing stations to predict how the weather is likely to behave in the upcoming days. This is important as it allows us to make decisions about what we do and how we dress. We can also use Mathematical modelling to model the growth rate of different populations. This can be used to protect endangered species, and can also be used to predict the growth rate of the human population. This is important as it allows us to plan sustainable living situations for the increasing number of people who are living on Earth.
A key element of Mathematics is spotting patterns, and since both Maths and Music deal with understanding complex abstract patterns, it is theorized that Maths and Music are linked. For example, the Fibonacci series (a mathematical series in which the next term is given by the sum of the two previous terms) is found in piano scales; the first few terms of the Fibonacci series are 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 13, and a full octave on a piano is represented by 13 keys comprising of 8 white keys between two sets of black keys that consist of groups of 3 and 2. Pythagoras, a famous Mathematician who is also credited with the discovery of the diatonic scale, said ‘There is geometry in the humming of the strings.’
Doctors and physicians use Maths every day to prescribe the correct dosage of medicine for a patient based on their weight, to use statistics and probability to interpret test results, and to determine the correct angle to use imagining equipment (i.e. an x-ray) at. Medical researchers use Maths to look for correlation between treatment and outcomes to determine whether a treatment is effective, and to draw up graphs that illustrate and effectively communicate their theories. Maths is also used in epidemiology, the branch of medical science that deals with the transmission and control of disease, as Maths is used to understand infection and transmission rates. There is a strong link between science and maths.
7). Video Game Design.
As the graphic design in video games advances, so does the use of Mathematics in video games. Vectors and trigonometry are used to deal with moving objects in a video game, while we need to understand how to model lines, planes, and the intersections of lines and planes in order to create a realistic video game scene. Maths is also important to predict how much money a new game could make through sales, and to weigh this against the amount of money that might need to be spent while the game is being developed.
Newspapers, social media and television are all full of statistics, but often these statistics can be presented in a biased way to try and get the target audience to believe a certain opinion. Mathematical literacy can help you understand the information that is being presented to you, and it can help you understand when the statistics you’re being given might be biased in a certain way. This makes it easier for you to make up your own mind about articles you read or statistics you hear, and makes you less likely to become a victim of fake news.
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